The risks are real. Lone workers get injured and killed on the job every year in Canada. Environmental hazards are higher for blue collar jobs and social hazards are higher for women workers.
Canadian workplace injury Statistics
(Source: Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey)
- On average 465 deaths occur on the job annually in Canada.
- On average there are 300,000 acute injuries at work causing “compensated time-loss claims.”
- On average 630,000 “activity-limiting occupational injuries” occur at work.
- 28% of employed people aged 18 to 75 who reported an activity-limiting injury, sustained their most serious injury at work.
Social Workplace Hazards
Workers are sometimes exposed to verbal abuse by clients or by members of the public, and they are exposed to crimes such as criminal harassment, uttering threats, disturbing the peace, or drug and alcohol-induced behavior.
- Women experienced nearly 3 times the odds of injury on the job when they reported their jobs as being “extremely stressful.” (Source: Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey)
Workers are sometimes exposed to risk of physical assault and bodily harm by clients or by members of the public. Although more rare than other workplace hazards, violent crimes often have very serious consequences. Violent crimes may include robbery, homicide, sexual assault, attempted murder, aggravated assault, gang-related violence, or assault with a weapon.
- In 2014 in Canada, 370,000 criminal charges were laid for violent crimes, excluding property crimes, traffic violations and non-violent abuse. (source: Statistics Canada CANSIM) Many violent crimes go unreported, especially when the victim knows their attacker.
- For women the likelihood for injury on the job was “significantly elevated” in sales and service jobs. (Source: Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey)
Environmental Workplace Hazards
The most common causes of workplace injuries are environmental. This refers to injury directly from the work place surroundings, including the use of tools. Environmental hazards often cause injury when another risk factor is also present, such as fatigue, stress, personal health problem, or a social risk.
- Slips, trips and falls are some of the most common workplace risks that can become life threatening for lone workers who do not have an appropriate means of calling for help while incapacitated.
- 49% of injuries on the job were caused by overexertion, strenuous movement and falls. (Source: Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey)
Exposure to hazardous materials, hot objects, corrosive liquid or noxious gas, fire / explosion, and animal attacks present significant risks in many occupations.
- 72% of work place injuries occurred in blue-collar jobs. Workers are 4.5 times more likely to sustain an injury on the job in trades, transport and equipment operation versus business, finance, administration, social science, education, government service or religion. (Source: Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey)
Contact with sharp object or tool, being hit or crushed by a falling object, and injury by equipment failure or misuse often leads to serious injury or death and occurs all too frequently.
- 32% of injuries on the job occur due to contact with sharp object, tool or machine or being accidentally struck or crushed by an object. (Source: Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey)
Personal Health-Related Workplace Hazards
Workplace injury can occur as a direct result of a health problem or indirectly due to incapacitation while operating equipment or working at heights. As Canadians choose to have longer careers, the overall risk of injury at work due to personal health-related causes is likely to rise.
- Typical incapacitating health problems are: heart attack or stroke, epileptic seizure, respiratory-related illness, overexertion / strenuous activity, diabetic or blood pressure episodes, anaphylaxis due to food allergy, insect bite, chemical sensitivity, excess fatigue, drug/alcohol use, migraine, or arthritis causing slow reaction, poor judgment, or falling asleep.
- “…shiftwork is associated with a higher risk of occupational injury.” (Source: Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey)