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A change has been made to the Workers Compensation Act to help create and fund safety associations.
Safety associations are funded by employers in the industry represented by the association.
In order to be established as an association, the majority of the employers would have to support the establishment of an association.
The Workers Compensation Board would facilitate the collection of the funds through an additional levy on employers.
“In addition to health and safety programs, safety associations can help to promote awareness and education in accident prevention,” said Stuart Affleck, chairman of the Workers Compensation Board. “There are many success stories in other jurisdictions where safety associations have played a positive role in reducing workplace accidents and we know that together we can make a greater impact.”
Safety associations support employers, and work to promote workplace safety through education and other initiatives.
The policy has been approved in principle by the board of directors and will go out to public consultation before final approval.
It is anticipated that the policy process will be concluded by the end of 2015 and that the Workers Compensation Board would be in a position to accept applications in 2016.
As well, the board has reduced the average assessment rate for employers for 2016, a continuation of the decade-long downward trend.
The average assessment rate for 2016 will be $1.77 per $100 of payroll which is a two cent decrease from the 2015 rate.
The key drivers of assessment rates are the costs of workplace injuries.
Reduced rates demonstrate a positive trend in safety performance for the majority of Island workplaces.
All Island employers will be advised of their individual assessment rates in December.