Canadian workers compensation boards reported that nearly 1000 workers died due to work-related causes in 2017 alone (2019 Report on Work Fatality and Injury Rates). As defined by the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC), a workplace fatality is, “a death resulting from a work-related incident (including disease) that has been accepted for compensation by a Board/Commission.” As stated in the 2019 Report, “Such fatalities are classified as being related to injury (i.e., a death due to job-related electrocution) or occupational disease (for example, death from mesothelioma due to work-related exposure to asbestos)”.
In today’s blog, we’re taking a deeper dive into the causes of some of these fatalities, including some of the most dangerous industries to work in across Canada, the types of injuries most often reported, and prevention measures employers should consider in order to maintain safe, healthy, and productive workforces and communities.
Common Causes of Workplace Injury and Fatality
- Asbestos Exposure | According to the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees, “In Canada, asbestos exposure is the leading cause of workplace-related deaths. … Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of lung cancer, usually caused by exposure to asbestos”. According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, “more than 80% of men with mesothelioma were likely exposed to asbestos in the workplace.”
- Slips, Trips and Falls | According to an article published by Aviva Insurance in 2018, “[on construction sites] slips and trips cause two-thirds of the 42,000 falls suffered by workers each year. Spills, weather hazards and loose mats are frequent causes of slips, while trips are often the result of obstructed vision, poor lighting, clutter or uneven walking surfaces.” In addition, “18% of all workplace fatalities are the result of falls from heights”, and over the last decade, “13% of all workplace fatalities were caused by caught-in and struck-by accidents”.
- Other | According to OHS Alberta (2018), the top causes of injuries among workers (underscored in a cross-industry comparison based on 2018 injury, disease and fatality statistics reported by the Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta) were “Overexertion, Falls, Bodily Reaction, and Struck by Object”. In addition, OHS Alberta reports that 43 workers in the construction and trades sector died in 2018 due to disease, motor vehicle incidents, or workplace incidents.
Most Dangerous Industries in Canada
This statistic is supported by Canadian men’s lifestyle magazine, Pursuit, which noted that some of the deadliest jobs in Canada include:
- Mining and quarrying workers
- Construction: insulation workers
- Air pilots, navigators and flight engineers
- Commercial fishermen
- Truck drivers
- Construction workers
- Pipefitters and commercial plumbing
The Globe and Mail reports a similar list of most dangerous jobs, including:
- Fisheries workers
- Pilots and flight engineers
- Structural iron and steelworkers
- Garbage and recyclables collectors
- Electrical power line installers and repairers
- Truck drivers and mobile sales workers
- Farmers, ranchers, agricultural managers
- Construction workers
Preventing Workplace Injuries & Fatalities
Overexertion, exposure to harmful substances, hearing loss, and impairment are all common causes of workplace injuries and fatalities—and, in many cases, can be prevented. There is a range of occupational health testing services to help employers prevent workplace injury and fatality. Here are some to consider:
Drush & Alcohol Testing | The implementation of pre-employment, pre-access, post-incident, and reasonable cause testing is a great mitigation tool to decrease the risk of substance abuse and reduce safety risks in the workplace.
Fitness-to-Work Testing | Fitness-to-work evaluations help give employers the peace of mind of knowing workers are physically capable of completing the requirements of their positions, thus reducing the risk of accidents or injuries.
Audiometric Testing | Occupational hearing loss is a permanent, non-treatable condition that can be fatal when a person’s ability to communicate is impaired or capacity to monitor the working environment is decreased.
Lung Health Testing | Most provincial & territorial OH&S legislation requires employers to reduce worker exposure to harmful airborne particulates. Failure to meet provincial or territorial OH&S standards may result in fines, legal action, and put your employees at risk of developing serious – and possibly fatal – health conditions. SureHire can help.
Covid-19 Support | The Covid-19 pandemic has changed occupational health and safety on a global scale. With no treatments or vaccines available to prevent the virus from spreading, employers are exploring all methods for prevention so they can keep their employees safe and their job sites open.
Mobile Occupational Testing | Whether you are in a remote location, looking to reduce employee downtime, or looking to get a high amount of participation at a given time, our mobile team is here to meet your needs!
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