More health workers in Saskatchewan are being compensated for violent on-the-job injuries than police or corrections officers, according to newly released statistics from the province’s Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB).
According to the board’s statistics on accepted claims, the top three groups of occupations that were prone to violent injuries between 2012 and 2016 were:

  • Nurse aides, orderlies, and patient service associates.
  • Community and social service workers.
  • Registered nurses.

Read more.

LABOUR/ADVANCED EDUCATION–Amendments Make It Easier for Emergency Response Workers to Access PTSD Benefits
Government is making it easier for emergency response workers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to access benefits.
Amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act introduced today, April 28, will ensure covered emergency response workers no longer have to prove their PTSD diagnosis was caused by a workplace incident. They will also further clarify the claim process and who can get benefits.
“We’re grateful for the valuable and sometimes heartbreaking work our emergency response workers do every day,” said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan. “We want to make it easier for those who suffer from PTSD to access benefits and treatment. These changes are a step in the right direction.”
While stress due to traumatic events has always been covered under the Workers’ Compensation Act, it currently requires covered workers to prove their diagnosis is a direct result of a workplace incident. Some PTSD sufferers avoid getting help because of this process.
The proposed amendments will:
— clarify that PTSD is presumed to be a result of an accident during employment
— define who is eligible for presumptive PTSD benefits. This will include police, paid and volunteer firefighters, paramedics, nurses, and provincial and federal correctional officers with workers’ compensation coverage
— allow coverage for other health service occupations to be added by regulation
— further clarify the process to receive presumptive PTSD coverage. Diagnosis will be required from a registered psychologist or psychiatrist.
Government intends to consult key stakeholders following introduction of the bill.
The province is committed to addressing workplace mental health, and co-hosted a mental health and PTSD conference last fall. One of the themes that arose included the need for presumptive PTSD benefits for emergency response workers.
The amendments will take effect upon proclamation.
Legislation introduced today (April 28th) will make it
easier for emergency response workers diagnosed with post-
traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to access benefits.
Amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act will ensure
covered emergency response workers no longer have to prove their
PTSD diagnosis was caused by a workplace incident. They will
also further clarify the claim process and who can access
Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan says
the amendments will make it easier for those who suffer from
PTSD to access benefits and treatment.
Media Contact: Lisa Jarrett
Cell: 902-717-4199

The EMPOWER Partnership is a team of researchers, health experts, stakeholders across the world that recognize the importance of worker health and well-being. EMPOWER engages in research initiatives to assess the health of workers, and to assess evidence-based programs to foster both employee and organizational functioning and well-being by supporting the individual, strengthening groups, developing leaders and creating healthy organizations.
There are currently five EMPOWER programs; ACTion, WORC, LEAD, Leading Healthy Workplaces and SPHERE.  Please review these programs and think about participating in this exciting and informative research. For more information on these programs and how you can get involved as an individual or organization, please contact:
Audrey Kruisselbrink, Research Coordinator
Please note this is not an AWARE-NS project. All related enquiries are to be made to Audrey.
EMPOWER-Initiative Overview-Mar-2017

The number of potential health and safety risks in any health-care organization is astounding. Not only do you need to worry about slips and trips, musculoskeletal disorders and chemical handling, but biological agents can be found around every corner. And of course there is always the pressure of keeping patients safe, too.
If your health-care organization truly knows only healthy and safe workers can ensure their patients are healthy and safe, we want to hear from you for the Canada’s Safest Employers’ Health Care Safety award.
Click here to nominate your company for the Health Care award as part of Canada’s Safest Employers awards.
For more information about Canada’s Safest Employers,
Nominations Close June 1.

JV 19-17 Director H-EB External Job Ad


Click here for AWARE-NS Board Member Application

It’s time for patients and providers to come together for clean hands – STOP​​! Clean Your Hands​ Day returns Friday, May 5, 2017.
The theme for STOP! Clean Your Hands Day is: Ask Yourself…
Making a change to your behaviour can be as simple as asking yourself a question and understanding that change doesn’t need to be a burden. Small, incremental changes can lead to big things…Read More

Please take 10 minutes and share your thoughts on workplace safety in the long term care, home care, and community services sectors.

Please complete this survey.

Our province’s health and community services sectors play a critical role in the health and well-being of Nova Scotians, and combined are the largest industry sector in the province.
Because of the size of these sectors, the high rate of work-related injuries and illnesses, and the risk and impact on quality care outcomes, stakeholders, including employers and unions, are coming together to help bring about change.
Led by AWARE-NS, the Departments of Health and Wellness, Labour and Advanced Education, and Community Services, the Nova Scotia Health Authority, IWK Health Centre, and WCB Nova Scotia are working together to develop a five-year action plan to improve the occupational health and safety outcomes specifically for publicly-funded home care, long-term care, and community services.
Did you know that workers in these sectors are more likely to be injured on the job than any other type of worker? Accounting for 20 per cent of total assessable payroll, the health and community service sectors account for almost 30 per cent of time-loss claims to WCB Nova Scotia. That means three out of ten time-loss claims originate in these sectors.
Nova Scotia needs its care workers healthy and on the job. Knowing that these work environments are very complex, we need to hear from you to better understand what causes injuries, and how we can work together to identify opportunities to prevent injuries from occurring.
Consultation sessions with front-line care workers and managers/supervisors were held in November and December, and now a survey tool is being rolled out to gather more feedback. Maybe you weren’t able to participate in person, or maybe you attended a session but didn’t feel comfortable voicing your thoughts. There is still time to participate and have your say!
Please encourage and promote this brief, 10 minute survey among your colleagues, employees, and in your workplace. We all share the same vision for a safer system – for workers, and for clients. Through education, collaboration, and a willingness to look at things differently, change is possible.
Susan Dempsey
Executive Director,

Injury rate remains at historic low in NS

Those who are hurt at work tend to be off longer

Nova Scotia’s workers and employers continued making workplace safety a priority throughout the summer months, and the rate of injury remained relatively steady at 1.74, the lowest result in the history of the measure.  As more and more leaders sign
a charter committing them to creating safer workplaces, and as media stories continue to make workplace safety part of the public conversation, we are beginning to see evidence of sustained change in Nova Scotia’s workplace safety culture.
Read More

The province has accepted 12 recommendations to improve safety and security in community emergency departments.
A working group tasked with finding ways to improve safety at community emergency departments presented its recommendations on, Jan. 20.
“The safety of nurses, physicians, staff, patients and families at emergency departments across the province is very important to all of us,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “I thank this group for its time and expertise. We accept these recommendations. We want to work with our partners in health care. Helping to improve workplace safety is good for all of us.”
Recommendations include:
— have the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) and unions work together on ways to reduce workplace violence
— perform risk assessments for each community emergency department to determine their safety and security needs
— offer education such as non-violent crisis intervention training to staff
— set up an NSHA-wide system to track incident and injury reports, training records and compliance reports, and provide data for future safety planning
— ensure staff can report workplace violence in multiple ways such as on paper or with a smartphone or tablet
— update emergency planning policies and ensure that staff know how to respond to incidents if and when they occur
The complete report is available here.
“Our committee of employers, unions, government and other key stakeholders is proud to present a positive strategy resulting from a very serious workplace incident,” said Janet Hazelton, president, Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union. “Violence is not part of any nurse’s or health-care worker’s job. Regardless of the situation no one should feel threatened or unsafe in their workplace. Much remains to be done, but this is an important step in the right direction.”
The NSHA will put the recommendations into place over the coming months and will report back to the province in a year’s time.
“The report builds on many of NSHA’s efforts since its creation to develop a provincial approach to workplace safety with consistent training, programs and policies,” said Carmelle d’Entremont, vice-president, people and organizational development, Nova Scotia Health Authority. “The working group is a wonderful example of collaboration to achieve a common goal. The partnerships with unions and other stakeholders will help us better address workplace violence.”
The working group consisted of:
— Nova Scotia Health Authority (co-chair)
— Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union (co-chair)
— Department of Health and Wellness
— Department of Labour and Advanced Education
— Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union
— Canadian Union of Public Employees
— Unifor
— Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia
— Paladin Security
— Cape Breton Regional Police Service.