Industry Voices: WorkSafeBC preliminary assessment rates for construction

Journal of Commerce | ASSOCIATIONS | by COCA | 

The preliminary assessment rates for 2018 have been announced by WorkSafeBC. The rates are described as preliminary because they have not yet been approved by the WorkSafeBC Board of Directors. This approval is expected by November.

In most cases, the preliminary rates have historically become the final rates.

Lower claims costs and strong investment returns have enabled assessment rate reductions overall, though individual rate groups are still subject to increased or decreased rates according to their performance.

Accordingly, some construction rates have increased, though the general trend is for decreased rates.

The preliminary 2018 assessment rates are good news for much of the construction industry. The generally lower rates demonstrate that the system is working to reduce worker injuries.

One of the most significant improvements is within the industrial, commercial, institutional rate group, which has decreased from $2.74 to $2.26, its lowest ever rate.

The Workers’ Compensation Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, the WorkSafeBC inspections system and the employer managed safety training and supervision are all having a positive effect.

The injury rate for the construction sector has dramatically decreased.  The injury rate is measured as the number of wage loss claims per year for 100 workers.

The rate has decreased from 7.3 in 2000 to 4.1 in 2015.

This reflects a huge improvement in workplace safety — fewer worker injuries per person hours worked.

Overall, the steady reduction in assessment rates over a 20-year period are a strong indicator that the construction industry is meeting the occupational health and safety (OHS) challenges.

COCA recognizes that our industry needs to continue the actions that are producing positive results.

We need to establish and maintain effective OHS programs, including ongoing safety training and supervision.  We need to improve our return to work performance so that injured workers are assisted and encouraged to come back to work when it is medically safe.  We need to adapt to changing circumstances within our industry.

For all of this, we need to work in co-operation with WorkSafeBC.

The changes for some of the construction rate groups are shown below.

All rates shown below are in dollars per $100 payroll.

Examples of preliminary rate decreases are:

  • bridge, overpass or viaduct construction decreases from $6.82 to $6.17
  • crane operation decreases from $3.44 to $2.89
  • drywalling decreases from $5.53 to $4.46
  • house raising, structural moving decreases from $5.61 to $4.74
  • highway maintenance decreases from $3.27 to $2.60
  • industrial, commercial, institutional decreases from $2.74 to $2.26
  • low slope roofing decreases from $5.05 to $4.14
  • plumbing, heating, air conditioning decreases from $2.69 to $2.41
  • power pole, powerline, or transmission line installation, service and repair decreases from $3.35 to $2.99
  • scaffolding, tent, staging or display booth installation decreases from $2.79 to $2.33

Examples of preliminary rate increases are:

  • asbestos abatement or mould remediation increases from $3.59 to $4.26
  • construction labour supply increases from $5.30 to $6.36
  • concrete placing increases from $3.88 to $3.96
  • electrical work increases from $2.03 to $2.06
  • painting or wallpapering increases from $3.71 to $3.77
  • steep slope roofing increases from $11.29 to $11.70

To check on your rate group for the 2018 preliminary rate information see the link below.

The WorkSafeBC website provides a tool for entering your rate group and then going to the preliminary rate.

Here is the address:

This Industry Voices column was submitted by COCA and provides insight on the WorkSafeBC preliminary assessment rates for 2018 and how they are good news for much of the construction industry. Send Industry Voices comments or questions to