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WorksafeNB: Five questions small businesses want to know

WorkSafeNB is a Crown corporation that oversees the implementation and application of the New Brunswick Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Workers' Compensation Act of New Brunswick, the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission Act of New Brunswick, and the Firefighters' Compensation Act.

Does my business need to have Worksafe coverage?

Businesses with three or more employees are subject to mandatory WorksafeNB coverage. For incorporated businesses officers and owners count as employees. For sole-proprietorship the owner and spouse of owners are not counted as employees.

What do premiums pay for?

The majority of costs incurred to the WCB system go to compensate and rehabilitate injured workers. These costs are covered only by employers (who entirely fund the system through premiums) and are largely based on two things:

  • how many people get injured 
  • how long they are off the job.

In addition to workplace health and safety training and resources, one of the most important benefits to the employer community is the fact that having WCB coverage provides immunity from litigation on behalf of an injured worker.

How much will it cost?

Workers’ compensation premiums vary widely based on industry classification WCB classifies businesses based on their primary business activities. Once you are classified you will pay the premium stated x $100 of gross payroll.
Over time, businesses also get an ‘experience rating’, which is a discount for workplaces with lower-than-average accident rates, or an additional premium for higher-than-average accident rates. WorkSafeNB publishes their rates annually, which can be found on their web site.

How can I reduce my premiums?

While there are complex actuarial models that actually set rates based on industry experience and other factors, there are several ways for employers to ensure that they do what they can to avoid paying more than necessary over time.

  • Offer practical, relevant safety training to all staff on an ongoing basis.
  • Ensure that you are classified correctly.
  • Actively manage any claims and cooperate with WorksafeNB.
  • Implement and use a Return to Work program.

Are there services available to help employers?
Employers have access to the Issues Resolution Office to help with claim related decisions and service related claims.

In addition to that the Office of Employers’ Advocates assists employers in matters concerning workers' compensation claims through advising and representing them on issues before WorkSafeNB and in particular during the appeals process.