A new study of worksite injuries in Ontario’s ICI construction sector reveals that unionized workers report a higher number of minor incidents, while suffering fewer injuries that result in disability leaves. Researchers with the Institute of Work & Health reviewed seven years of Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) claims, for the period from 2006 to 2012, to come to the conclusion that unionized workers reported 23 per cent fewer injuries necessitating time off work and 17 per cent fewer musculoskeletal injuries than their non-unionized peers.
“These findings suggest that unionized workers are encouraged to report injuries, including injuries that don’t require time away from the job. At the same time, these reporting practices enable construction unions to better identify and proactively manage workplace hazards that lead to injury,” says Dr. Ben Amick, a senior scientist at the Institute and co-lead investigator for the study.
The study was sponsored by the Ontario Construction Secretariat, a joint labour-management organization representing contractors in the ICI sector and unionized construction workers in 25 trades. It’s chief executive officer, Sean Strickland, maintains that safety and specialized skills training beginning with apprentice programs are fundamental to worksite safety and productivity.
“Creating safe and healthy workplaces continues to be a core value of the unionized construction industry in Ontario,” he says.