Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board

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Tell me about the Super-Assessment policy

When does the policy take effect?

The policy will take effect on January 1, 2016.

Why this new policy?

The compensation system is based on a principle of collective liability – employers pay into the system so there will be benefits for workers who get injured. The industries that cost the most to the system pay the highest assessment rates. Assessment rates can be negatively affected by poor safety performers. The employer community has asked us to identify those poor performers and take measures to encourage and assist them in improving safety practices.

What is the policy about?

The guiding principle of this policy is to encourage robust prevention practices, to prevent injury and disability. This reduces human and monetary costs, which ultimately saves employers money.

Employers who have the highest claims costs are more likely to have poor safety records as well. This policy is about helping those employers to improve their safety performance, which will prevent disability and eventually bring costs down for everyone.

What is a super-assessment?

It is an assessment over and above an employer’s ordinary annual assessment. Sometimes an employer’s claims costs are significantly higher than expected. A super-assessment is meant to cover some or all of those higher costs.

Is this policy a way for YWCHSB to get more money out of Yukon employers?

No. The guiding principle of this policy is to encourage and support employers who take workplace safety seriously, like we do. Poor safety performers cause workplace injuries and drive the costs up for everyone else. This policy helps us to acknowledge good performers by holding poor performers accountable for their safety records.

Under what circumstances will an employer be super-assessed?

There are two criteria that have to be met. First, the employer’s claims costs have to be higher than normal. YWCHSB has determined “higher than normal” is more than 3 times the rate group average. Second, the employer has to have insufficient practices and procedures for preventing injury in their workplace. If both of these criteria are met, the employer risks super-assessment.

Can all employers be super-assessed?

No. The employer has to have a payroll more than 6 times the maximum wage rate (which calculates to about $500,000 in 2015). Smaller employers are exempt from super-assessment. They can still be monitored by Occupational Health and Safety and and are still subject to fines and penalties under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations and the Workers’ Compensation Act if they don’t meet their legal requirements.

What makes up an employer’s costs to the system?

When we talk about costs, we mean claims costs. Claims costs are actual costs paid by YWCHSB for accepted claims. Claims costs include actual payments related to compensation (such as medical treatments, loss of earnings benefits, rehabilitation services, and survivor pension awards) and other related expenses made on behalf of injured workers. For the purpose of super-assessment, we’ll be looking at claims costs over the last 5 complete years.

If a claim is denied, do the costs count against the employer?

No. Payments made on denied claims are not included in claims costs for that employer. The costs are applied to the industry that employer is in.

How high do costs have to be before an employer can be super-assessed?

The threshold for super-assessment is claims costs more than 3 times the average for all of the employers included in a rate group.

How will an employer know if they might get super-assessed?

Every year, YWCHSB will tell employers whose costs are approaching the super-assessment threshold, or have already exceeded the threshold. The threshold is claims costs more than 3 times the average for that rate group. These employers will be given ample opportunity to improve their safety practices and avoid super-assessment.

Will there be any warning before an employer is super-assessed?

Yes. Employers will be given ample opportunity to improve their safety practices and avoid super-assessment. They may be subject to a focused audit by Occupational Health and Safety to find out what improvements they need to make to avoid super-assessment.

What if an employer doesn’t care about safety, and they would rather just pay the super-assessment?

YWCHSB takes safety very seriously. We are here to prevent disability, and we can only achieve that if all workers and employers embrace a culture of workplace safety.

If we encounter any employer who does not want to make an effort to improve their safety record, we will issue a super-assessment immediately. We can also issue fines under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations.

Does super-assessment take the place of fines?

No. Employers have rights and responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations and the Workers’ Compensation Act. If an employer is subject to a super-assessment, it does not prevent YWCHSB from levying fines and issuing penalties under either or both Acts as well.

Can any employer find out what their claims costs are?

Yes, by calling YWCHSB at 667-5645 or 1-800-661-0443, and asking for a claims cost report.

How does YWCHSB decide who gets super-assessed?

We will be analyzing claims cost data and looking for “outliers”. Outliers are employers whose claims costs are more than three times the rate group average. YWCHSB will support these employers’ efforts to improve their safety practices and meet legislative requirements.

When claims cost data is analyzed each year, any employer who continues to have outlier status and who fails to meet the legislative requirements may have a super-assessment levied against it.

How can employers avoid super-assessment?

Employers who are already safety leaders need to keep up the good work. Those whose safety programs are lacking, who do not have a strong safety culture in their workplaces, need to start making improvements right away. Remember there are two criteria for super-assessment: inadequate safety practices and high claims costs. YWCHSB takes it into account when an employer with high claims costs has already made significant safety improvements.

What does YWCHSB support for employers look like?

Any registered employer in Yukon can call for a claims cost report at any time to see how they are doing. Occupational Health and Safety also conducts regular inspections and gives formal and informal feedback to help employers make improvements to meet their legal requirements.

If an employer’s costs reach 2-3 times the rate group average, their files will be reviewed and YWCHSB may recommend safety improvement strategies and invite the employer to participate in regular follow-up meetings.

If costs reach more than 3 times the rate group average, the Director of Occupational Health and Safety and Director of Assessments will visit the employer to discuss what action the employer must take to improve safety. The employer may be the subject of a focused audit and may receive ongoing advice from a Safety Management Consultant.

How can a super-assessed employer avoid future super-assessments?

YWCHSB will continue to monitor the claims costs and prevention practices of a super-assessed employer and eliminate the super-assessment when either or both of the criteria no longer apply. Either the claims costs are no longer higher than the expected range, or, their prevention practices and procedures are considered adequate. To be considered adequate, the employer must:

  • meet the minimum requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations and the Workers’ Compensation Act;
  • have no penalties, fines, or prosecutions pending against it at the time of review; and
  • pass a review of its safety management system, assessed in a manner acceptable to YWCHSB’s Director of Occupational Health and Safety.

How many times can the same employer be super-assessed?

An employer can be super-assessed a maximum of once a year. There is no limit to the number of years an employer can be super-assessed.

How much will the super-assessment be?

That depends on how high the claims costs are. The super-assessment will be the difference between the actual claims costs and three times the rate group average, multiplied by a factor depending on the number of times the employer has been super-assessed. If it is the first time, the factor will be 10%; 20% the second time, and so on. The maximum super-assessment an employer will have to pay is 100% of the overage in claims costs.

For example, say the rate group average is $100,000. Three times the rate group average is $300,000. A particular employer has costs of $500,000. The difference is $200,000. The first time this employer is super-assessed, the multiplying factor is 10%.

($500,000 - $300,000) X 10% = $20,000 super-assessment

How will YWCHSB collect super-assessments?

The amount will appear on their account just like regular assessment premiums. The amount will be subject to interest and non-payment penalties just like regular assessment premiums.

Where can I find the policy?

Click on the following link: “EA-07 - Super-Assessment”.

Can I talk to someone at YWCHSB about this policy?

Yes. Our Employer Services Officers and Occupational Health and Safety staff are here to answer your questions. Call us at 667-5645 or 1-800-661-0443.