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Emerging risks

Beyond conducting regular workplace inspections and listening to workers' safety concerns, it's also important to consider possible future risks that may cause harm to workers.

Historically, we have published information based on data collected from past incidents. But there are risks not evident from such incidents — risks due to new technologies, products, and procedures used in industry. These risks are known as emerging risks because while the risk exists in the workplace, there is little historical data about past incidents to quantify it.

Our risk analysis unit looks for risks that employers may be unaware of or that are difficult to detect. It investigates external sources of data to identify current and potential risks to workers in B.C. This research complements the information we gather from analyzing claim-related data.

The risk analysis unit uses various means to learn about potential risks such as:

  • Engaging internal and external subject matter experts and stakeholders
  • Monitoring more than 200 specific information feeds
  • Scanning established Google Alerts for indicators of risk

The goal of this research is to identify and stop risks before harm is done. Once a potential risk is identified, the team assesses the risk to determine appropriate forms of intervention. The risk analysis unit places special emphasis on the following six categories of risk:

Categories of risk

  1. 1

    Catastrophic risks

    Risks with the potential to result in widespread damage, injury, or loss of life.

  2. 2

    Emerging risks

    Risks with growing trends and potentially uncertain outcomes or effects.

  3. 3

    Risks involving less serious non-monetary losses

    Risks resulting in incidents where the magnitude of harm may be poorly reflected in WorkSafeBC claim costs.

  4. 4

    Invisible risks

    Risks that are not fully revealed through detection or reporting.

  5. 5

    Slow-acting harms

    Risks where there can be many years between the initial exposure to a hazard and the negative effects.

  6. 6

    Risks involving conscious opponents

    Risks introduced by people deliberately seeking to avoid regulatory measures.

Newly identified risks are communicated to employers and industries through risk advisories.