New numbers from Statistics Canada indicate New
Brunswickers are most likely to sustain a workplace injury that forces them to
curtail their work.
Statistics Canada estimates 19,000 New Brunswickers,
about five per cent of the working population, sustained at least one
activity-limiting injury at work in 2003.
That's compared to about 3.8 per cent of Canadians,
contributing to a total of 630,000 workplace injuries.
"I think the explanation lies in the distribution of the
workforce in New Brunswick," said Kathryn Wilkins, senior analyst for the
health analysis and measurement group at Statistics Canada.
Wilkins said the study examined a sample of 75,000
While New Brunswick posted the highest percentage,
Wilkins said statistically, it is not significantly different from the numbers
Part of the reason New Brunswick and Saskatchewan posted
higher numbers of workplace injuries is because they have a significantly
higher proportion of blue-collar workers, hovering around the 55 per cent mark.
That's compared to the Canadian average of 49 per cent.
"Of course, that's where the highest rates of work
injury occur," she said.
The detailed study also isolated increased risks of
workplace injury for some people.
It found daily smokers had a higher likelihood of work
injury compared with occasional or non-smokers. It was particularly true among
women, among whom 3.5 per cent of daily smokers were injured -- nearly double
the 1.9 per cent rate among occasional or non-smoking women.
Those who have more than one job, those who work a shift
other than the day shift and those who work more than 45 hours a week were also
more likely to report injury.
While those seem to make sense, Wilkins said it also
found increased injury rates among obese women and among women who perceived
their job to be stressful.
Injuries were more common in blue-collar jobs. About
one-in-10 workers in trades, transport and equipment operation were
The national average was four per cent.
The injury rate in the processing or manufacturing
occupations was 7.2 per cent and in primary industries it was 6.6 per cent.
Almost three out of every 10 work-related injuries was to the hands.
While the numbers are based on a survey, Mary Tucker of
the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission said its numbers show
the opposite and that it has only recently slipped to the second-lowest number