The Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB) announced today that its Construction Health and Safety Incentive Program has been made permanent following a three year evaluation process. Started in 2007, the pilot program offered a five per cent reduction in WCB assessment rates for construction firms that earned COR (Certificate of Recognition) certification and met certain other criteria. Going forward, the program will be enhanced by doubling the first year discount to 10 per cent.
“The construction industry has done an outstanding job of supporting and embracing a program that greatly benefits everyone involved,” says Minister of Labour and Immigration Jennifer Howard. “More and more Manitobans are working hard to reduce workplace injuries through prevention and safety initiatives.”
Since the COR Incentive pilot program was introduced in 2007, the time loss injury rate in the construction industry has dropped from 8.8 per 100 full time equivalent workers in 2007 to 6.9 per 100 full time equivalent workers in 2009. The number of COR certified companies has grown from approximately 166 companies in 2006 to 440 as of January 1, 2011.
“Safety programs are an effective way to reduce workplace injuries,” says WCB President and CEO Doug Sexsmith. “Certification works. COR certified companies were found to have lower injury rates, reduced time loss injury costs and shorter claim durations than non-COR certified companies. As a result, they also paid lower assessment rates.”
To obtain COR accreditation, an employer must undergo a safety training program, develop a company safety manual, develop and implement a health and safety program, and pass an independent safety audit. COR certification is administered by the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association Work Safely Program and the Construction Safety Association of Manitoba. Both associations are members of the Canadian Federation of Construction Safety Associations, and are authorized to grant the national COR standard in the Province of Manitoba.
“The WCB’s COR incentive program acknowledges construction firms who make keeping workers safe a top priority at all times,” says Manitoba Heavy Construction Association President Chris Lorenc. “Programs such as this that motivate and encourage companies to participate in workplace safety are being welcomed by the industry.”
The WCB and its partners, along with the SAFE on Site program which takes the safety message directly on to construction sites, have been working together to reduce injuries. Over 50% of the workers in Manitoba’s construction industry work for a COR certified company. The initiative is self-funded by all construction employers in Manitoba. There is no additional cost to employers in other industries.
“We’re glad that the COR incentive program has been made permanent, because workplace injuries in the construction sector will continue to decrease as more firms take part and remain committed to programs like this,” says Winnipeg Construction Association Executive Vice President Ron Hambley. “We are committed to our safety programs and training because they help keep workers safe.”
The Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba is a mutual workplace injury and disability insurance agency funded by employer premiums. With a mandate to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses, the WCB is committed to building a culture of health and safety in Manitoba through the SAFE Work program and community partnerships. Workplace injuries and illnesses are preventable but should they occur, the WCB is here to help injured workers, their families and employers.
For more information contact:Warren Preece Director of Communications Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba (204)-954-4113 1-800-362-3340 Email: [email protected]