Blog

Categories

Archives

Subscribe

Asbestos: The Number One Cause of Occupational Fatalities in Canada

Posted in: Claims Costs | Posted by Rebecca Ingram on August 27, 2021

According to the most recent incidence statistics, asbestos exposure continues to be the number one cause of occupational deaths in Canada. Since 1996, the asbestos-related disease has accounted for a third of all workplace fatalities across the country.  Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral with many diverse and desirable applications including fire-retardant coatings, concrete, bricks, fireplace cement, heat/, fire and acid-resistant gaskets, pipe insulation, ceiling insulation, fireproof drywall, flooring, roofing, lawn furniture, automobile parts, and drywall joint compound. It is made up of microscopic fibers that can be released into the atmosphere and if those fibers are inhaled it can lead to various serious and incurable lung conditions. As a result, it is now a major health and safety hazard.  The health dangers of asbestos exposure were first documented in 1899 and concerns were continually raised into the early 1900’s. However, despite the known issues and concerns, asbestos was […]

Cost Relief on COVID-19 Claims

Posted in: Claims Costs | Posted by Rebecca Ingram on June 25, 2021

In September 2020, the Alberta Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) announced a plan to address the potential financial impact COVID-19 claims costs posed on Alberta employers. The WCB identified 5 different applications of cost relief for claims where COVID-19 played a factor and that costs would automatically be removed from an employer’s experience records, namely: Cost relief for COVID-19 claims.Cost relief for claims where modified work was no longer available for no-time-loss claims due to the provincial shutdown.Cost relief for claims where the worker became fit for work during the shutdown and the employer could not offer modified work because of the shutdown (modified work must have been offered within two weeks of the provincial re-opening).Cost relief for delays in hospital admission and surgeries due to the pandemic.Recording claims as no-time-loss when modified work is no longer available. Although there are no actual costs to relieve, the status of the claim […]

COVID-19 Outbreaks in the Workplace – Who’s Gonna Pay?

Posted in: Claims Costs,WCB Law | Posted by Rebecca Ingram on May 25, 2021

As Alberta grapples with the impact of the 3rd wave of COVID-19 infections, there have been a rash of outbreaks in workplaces involving a large number of COVID-19 infections. Transmission, quite clearly, is happening worker to worker and exposure is occurring while they are at work but is this a work-related injury or illness? And if so, how will this affect employers who are already struggling economically to survive the pandemic? If the Alberta Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) is going to accept claims that arise from COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplace, who will bear the brunt of the costs? The WCB acknowledges that COVID-19 is not in itself caused by employment; however, if the work situation/circumstances put a worker at a greater risk of contracting the disease, then the claim would be acceptable. While this may seem reasonable, when put into practise the results are mind boggling.  Based on an […]

WCB Psychological Claims: A Cautionary Tale for Employers

Posted in: Mental Health,Workplace | Posted by Rebecca Ingram on April 28, 2021

Once upon a time, there were very strict guidelines for the Alberta Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) to consider a psychiatric or psychological injury claim. Essentially, there needed to be a clear correlation to a work-related incident such as a head injury, organic brain damage or an emotional reaction to a traumatic event. Workplace interactions, conflicts and relations were considered to be part of a normal work environment that all workers are subject to. It was further felt that all workers had the option of leaving their job if they were unhappy with their work environment. Prior to November 2000 the WCB defined normal employment pressures and tension as follows: interpersonal relations and conflicts, health and safety concerns, union issues and routine labour relations actions taken by the employer, including workload and deadlines, work evaluation, performance management (discipline), transfers, changes in job duties, lay-offs, demotions, terminations, and reorganizations, to which all […]

COVID-19: One Year Later

Posted in: Mental Health,Workplace | Posted by Rebecca Ingram on March 25, 2021

We’ve all been doing the COVID-19 dance for a year now and wow how quickly our world changed! Despite all we’ve lost, all we have suffered and all we have sacrificed, we have also experienced some remarkable change, resilience and innovation. We have come together, as a nation and as a society to fight a common, albeit somewhat invisible, foe. Virtually, every business sector has felt the impact of the pandemic in one way or another.  Offices shut their doors immediately and then scrambled to figure out how to operate their business with staff working from home. Restaurants and fast food chains had to adapt from relying on dining in to take-out and delivery. Grocery stores and retail outlets shifted to on-line ordering, home delivery and curbside pick-up. Essential services that remained open had to modify their operations with the implementation of PPE, social distancing, plexiglass partitions and restrictions on who and how […]

Top