Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What is a ‘reportable’ injury?

I was asked last week to compare injury rates from two jurisdictions. I had to explain that this is not easily done. Economic mix, demographics of the workforce, differences in benefit terms (waiting periods, employer deductibles) and other factors can impact such a comparison. One factor, in particular, came up that is often overlooked: injury reporting requirements.


Before a workers’ compensation or prevention organization can act on an injury, illness or incident, there must be a report to the organization. What is reportable will have a large impact on key statistical measures including time-loss injury rate (injury frequency). There are two aspects to reporting requirements:

  • What is required to be reported as a work-related injury or disease
  • The degree of compliance with reporting requirements
So, what is reportable? That varies by jurisdiction. For WorkSafeBC with its dual role as the workers’ compensation and prevention agency for the province, a reportable injury is (or is claimed to be) an injury arising out of and in the course of employment with any of the following immediate or subsequent characteristics:
  1. The worker loses consciousness following the injury.
  2. The worker is transported or directed to a hospital or other place of medical treatment, or is recommended by such persons to go to such place.
  3. The injury is one that obviously requires medical treatment.
  4. The worker has received medical treatment for the injury.
  5. The worker is unable or claims to be unable by reason of the injury to return to his or her usual job function on any working day subsequent to the day of injury.
  6. The injury or accident resulted or is claimed to have resulted in the breakage of an artificial member, eyeglasses, dentures or a hearing aid.
  7. The worker or WorkSafeBC has requested that an employer's report be sent.

Some incidents require immediate reporting whether or not an injury occurs:

  • Any incident that kills, causes risk of death, or seriously injures a worker
  • Any blasting accident that results in injury, or unusual event involving explosives
  • A diving incident that causes death, injury, or decompression sickness requiring treatment
  • A major leak or release of a dangerous substance
  • A major structural failure or collapse of a structure, equipment, construction support system, or excavation
  • Any serious mishap



Ontario’s WSIB (with its primary role on the workers’ compensation side) has the following reporting requirements written into policy:
Employers must report a work-related accident to the WSIB if they learn that a worker requires health care and/or

  • is absent from regular work
  • earns less than regular pay for regular work (e.g., part-time hours)
  • requires modified work at less than regular pay
  • requires modified work at regular pay for more than seven calendar days following the date of accident.

In Alberta, reporting requirement of injuries for occupational health and safety purposes is different than for workers’ compensation purposes. According to the Alberta OHS Act, injuries and incidents have to be reported to the Government of Alberta if they:

  • result in a death
  • cause a worker to be admitted to hospital for more than two days
  • involve an unplanned or uncontrolled explosion, fire or flood that causes or has the potential to cause a serious injury
  • involve the collapse or upset of a crane, derrick or hoist
  • involve the collapse or failure of any component of a building or structure necessary for the structural integrity of the building or structure.

My point is simply this: injury rate comparisons are complex. The injury rate in any jurisdiction is the result of many factors. Reporting requirement and the level of compliance with those requirements can have a significant impact on the apparent injury rates. When comparing injury rate data between jurisdictions, understanding what is reportable and how well reporting requirements are met are essential to understanding reported injury rates.

1 comment:

Chagul das said...


As a member of the working force, you possess specific statutory rights specifically designed to protect injured employees in the event that you are injured while performing in the course and scope of your employment. Workers' compensation provides limited insurance coverage for injured employees for lost of wages, medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation and retraining, if necessary.
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