2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the introduction of safety programming supported through the MHCA. I want to take a moment to share some thoughts about the past year.
What started with just a single safety advisor in 1989 has evolved into a team at the MHCA. We have grown from a handful of companies in our first year to 340 COR-certified companies in 2019. This means that close to three-quarters of the industry workforce is employed by COR-certified companies. All this hard work has made the heavy construction industry an emulated leader in the advancement of safety in all industries.
Our industry’s investment in safety has brought about consistently declining injury rates – down by more than half from 7.5 injuries per 100 workers in 2000, to 3.1 in 2018. Additionally, we are seeing significantly lower WCB rates – down to $1.40/$100 of payroll for 2019 and less than a quarter of the average rate of approximately $6/$100 in 1990. These lower rates are now close to the provincial average. Besides these improvements, a new prevention rebate was introduced, which reduces WCB costs by a further 15% – this rebate returned approximately $1.2 million to our industry in 2018.
Another much anticipated achievement of the last year is our work with other industry-based safety associations and the WCB on the development of a new funding model for industry-based safety programs. The new funding model will reduce the surcharge companies pay to support the WORKSAFELY program from 15% to 5% of their compensation premiums. This will result in additional savings of approximately $800,000 for our industry.
In partnership with other industry safety association and government, we are working toward solutions to a number of regulatory challenges, and are developing and promoting practical prevention policies.
Continuing with our digital accomplishments, WORKSAFELY launched its new website, which now offers enhanced online tools and resources. And we have worked with SiteDocs to create an electronic audit tool associated with the e-COR application.
The last 30 years have seen many milestones for the WORKSAFELY program, and I look forward to 2020 to enhance the successes of industry.