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Workplace injuries up significantly over winter in Canada (4/15)

Workplace injuries relating to snow, sleet, freezing rain and ice jumped significantly this past winter in Nova Scotia, Canada, according to the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia, the Truro Daily News reports.

Statistics released Thursday show there were 1,037 workplace injuries reported to the board from December 2007 to March 2008, representing a 64 percent increase from last year and twice as many as two years ago.

In Colchester County, Nova Scotia, there were 54 injuries reported this year, compared to 33 and 30 the past two years respectively.

“There’s no question that winter weather presents safety challenges, but that’s no excuse for workplace injuries,” said Stuart Maclean, WCB’s vice-president of prevention. “There is no such thing as a workplace ‘accident.’ All injuries are avoidable with the proper training and commitment.”

Of the 1,037 injuries, 311 resulted in lost time from work.

Many of the injuries are winter-weather related such as slips and falls on ice or motor vehicle crashes while many are musculoskeletal, such as moving heavy, wet snow.

“Changing the way work is designed is the key to preventing musculoskeletal injuries,” MacLean said.

The cost of musculoskeletal injuries to Nova Scotia industry is estimated between $100 million and $1 billion per year in direct and indirect costs, including lost productivity, replacing workers, overtime and training, according to the Truro Daily News.

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