IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Trends in Annual Compensated Work Injury Indicators in Québec from 2012 to 2017

Summary

For over 30 years, the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST) has been producing statistical indicators for occupational health and safety (OHS) every five years to obtain a detailed profile of the OHS situation in Québec at a given time. However, it has become necessary to obtain information on the trends in these indicators between two series in order to identify at-risk groups, not according to the “highest indicator” criterion, but according to the indicator showing the least favourable trend during the 2007-2012 period. A first series of annual indicators was estimated for the 2007-2012 period (Duguay, Busque, Boucher, Lebeau and Prud’homme, 2016). As a few years’ worth of data on work injuries have accumulated since then, it is now time to analyze how the recent situation is trending. 
 
For the years 2012 to 2017, the annual indicators were produced using data on accepted work injuries and compensated lost-time (CLT) injuries from the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST), combined with labour force data from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey (LFS). The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) workers were estimated using LFS data on the number of hours worked.
 
In addition to the gross numbers of injuries, the indicators produced include FTE frequency rates for accepted work injuries, CLT injuries, injuries involving more than 90 compensated days, injuries requiring rehabilitation, and costlier injuries, i.e. those whose cost was higher than the 2012 average. These last three indicators are used to measure the frequency of the injuries that had the most serious consequences.
 
The trends in these indicators between 2012 and 2017 were measured using various regression methods in order to estimate the average annual variations and determine whether these variations were statistically different (p<0.05) from those of the reference group. The reference group varied from one indicator to another, and consisted of the group for which the indicator showed the greatest improvement during the period under study, as measured by the average annual variation. 
 
From 2012 to 2017, the number of accepted injuries increased by 1.4% per year on average, going from slightly over 90,000 to 98,000. Most of this increase occurred between 2015 and 2017. Regarding CLT injuries, they rose from slightly over 67,000 to nearly 70,000 during the same period, representing an average annual increase of 0.5%. These increases in the annual number of injuries reflect in part the increase in the number of FTE workers. That number had been relatively stable from 2012 to 2014 before seeing a constant increase until 2017, representing an average annual increase of 1.1%. 
 
The increase in the number of work injuries varied according to injury category. In fact, the average annual variation in the number of work accidents was +0.3%, while the average annual variation in the number of occupational diseases was +14.5%. While the estimated variation in the number of accidents points to stability in their frequency, in actual fact, a drop of 4,100 accidents was observed between 2012 and 2015 compared to an increase of 6,300 from 2015 to 2017. Regarding accepted occupational diseases, which experienced a sizeable increase throughout the period, they clearly constitute an important OHS problem. 
 
Apart from injuries requiring rehabilitation, the number of the most serious injuries (i.e. those resulting in a permanent physical or mental impairment (PPMI), those involving more than 90 compensated days, and those whose cost surpassed the average) experienced a greater increase than the number of the least serious injuries. Moreover, the overall cost of all injuries and the average cost per accepted injury increased by +$274 million per year and +$2,345 per year respectively between 2012 and 2017.
 
The FTE frequency rate for CLT injuries declined (-0.5% per year), while that for cases without CLT increased (+2.7%), representing a statistically significant difference. While the average annual variation in the frequency rate for CLT injuries went down for the period as a whole, an increase in this rate has been observed since 2015. 
 
The analysis of the four FTE frequency rates (i.e., for CLT injuries, injuries involving more than 90 compensated days, those accepted with rehabilitation and the costliest) systematically shows a higher average annual variation in these rates for women than for men, and the differences are statistically significant. With respect to age, no difference was measured for the FTE frequency rate for CLT injuries. Regarding the FTE frequency rate for injuries involving more than 90 compensated days and those requiring rehabilitation, only the 15–24-year-old age group (respectively +6.0% and +1.3%) stood out significantly from the reference group, which in both cases was the 25–44-year-old age group (respectively +1.9% and -3.3%). The latter also constituted the reference group with respect to the trend in the frequency rate for the costliest injuries (+0.6%). The changes in the 15–24-year-old age group (+3.9%), the 45–54-year-old age group (+3.3%), and the 55-year-and-over age group (+7.9%) stood out in all cases as statistically significant. 
 
Regarding occupational categories, no statistically significant difference was measured for the trends in the FTE frequency rate for CLT injuries, injuries involving more than 90 compensated days, and injuries requiring rehabilitation. The frequency rate for the costliest injuries increased more among manual workers than for the other groups. As for industry sectors, apart from the trend in the FTE frequency rate for injuries requiring rehabilitation, where no significant difference was measured, two sectors appear to be among those where the situation deteriorated the most for each of the three other indicators: Health Care and Social Assistance, and Educational Services.
 
Several types of events or exposures experienced a statistically significant increase in their number of accepted injuries between 2012 and 2017. Two of these stood out, both for accepted injuries and costliest injuries, namely, exposure to noise (with average annual variations of +15.4% and +16.7% respectively) and repetitive movement (+10.1% and +11.8%).
 
Three industries-occupational categories posted a statistically significant increase for each of the four FTE frequency rates. These were manual and mixed workers in nursing and residential care facilities, ambulatory care and social assistance services, and non-manual workers in educational services. These are the industries-occupational categories which warrant our priority attention. They do not necessarily represent the groups with the highest frequency rates, but those whose frequency rates saw the least improvement over the period studied. However, it is important to underscore the fact that manual workers in nursing and residential care facilities and in ambulatory care and social assistance services posted a FTE frequency rate for CLT injuries that was 5.7 times higher than the average rate for all industries. 
 

Additional Information

Category: Research Report
Author(s):
Research Project: 2018-0003
Research Field: Special Projects
Online since: October 05, 2020
Format: Text