Workers’ compensation assessment rates will remain relatively stable for 2012, according to the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) of Nova Scotia.
For the eighth consecutive year, the average rate is $2.65 per $100 of assessable payroll.
Of the 18,000 employers covered by the WCB, 37 per cent will see their rate go down or stay the same and 63 per cent will see an increase.
“There is still plenty of room for improvement, but we cannot lose sight of the progress we are making,” said Stuart MacLean, acting CEO of the WCB. “Serious workplace injuries in Nova Scotia are at their lowest level in 15 years and rates are holding steady. By working closely with employers, workers and our safety partners, we will continue to make strides towards making Nova Scotia a safer place to work.”
Rates are significantly decreasing in a number of industries including fish processing, construction infrastructure, electrical work, hospitals and nursing homes.
Rates are going up in some industries that tend to have a large number of employers and therefore increase the percentage of employers seeing a rate increase.
The fishing industry, for example, includes more than 1,000 employers. Because the overall industry rate is increasing, most fishing employers will see an increase in their individual rate. In contrast, there are only nine employers in the hospital category, which is seeing a rate decrease, according to the WCB.
The WCB is exploring several enhancements to the rate setting model.
“In our effort to continue encouraging the behaviour change needed to support injury prevention and return to work we are looking at changes to make rates more responsive and to better incent safe behaviours in workplaces,” said MacLean. “Most of the changes will take effect in 2013, while others will be phased in over time.”
The WCB issues surcharges to employers whose claims costs are significantly and consistently higher than their industry peers. In 2012, 96 employers will have a surcharge, up from 92 in 2011.
To be surcharged, an employer’s claims costs must be at least three times their industry average for at least four consecutive years. Surcharges are cumulative and can add an additional 20 per cent to a firm’s base rate each year.
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