A Snapshot of BC-based Tree Services Incident Metrics Part 2 

Continuing in the review of public data from Worksafe BC's Tree Services Classification Unit (CU), I will look at a couple of different timeframes and introduce a comparison CU to better understand safety performance in the province of British Columbia. 

Figure 1 - Comparative analysis of assessed payroll ($ millions), Tree Services vs Steep Slope Roofing CU

Between 2012 and 2021, the tree care industry's size doubled in terms of payroll assessed, indicating that many more people are working as arborists in the province. This growth is important to understand from a perspective of recruiting and retaining workers. The increasing size of the industry means greater overall work exposure to hazards of the work environment.

Figure 2 - Comparative analysis of injury and serious injury rates, Tree Services vs Steep Slope Roofing CUs

Tree Services and Steep Slope Roofing were compared based on their similar size as industries (factoring payroll assessed and number of employers), and their similar incident rates (Figure 2). Injury rate is a measurement of incident prevention, and is calculated from the quantity of time-loss claims per 100 person-years of employment. A person-year is equal to one worker's entire employment over a calendar year (part-time or full-time). Claims included are injuries (i.e., short-term disability, long-term disability, or survivor benefits), in a calendar year or the first 3 months into the next year.

Tree Services has remained relatively flat in its performance on serious injury rates, and has a slight downward track on its injury rate. Roofing by comparison has a more obvious downward trend on both injury categories. The payroll growth analysis (Figure 1) is useful to align these two industries for injury prevention interventions. Market demand is growing for both industries, and they appear to be expanding proportionally.


Figure 3 - Comparative analysis of # time loss injury claims, Tree Services vs. Steep Slope Roofing CUs

Figure 4 - Comparative analysis of # serious injury claims, Tree Services vs. Steep Slope Roofing CUs

Numbers of time loss injuries (Figure 3) and serious injuries (Figure 4) supports the trend lines in injury rates (Figure 2) for roofing's prevention efforts. Tree services shows a clear upward trend in numbers of injuries and serious injuries, on the other hand injury and serious injury rates have tracked slightly downward and remained flat respectively.  

Beyond the numbers are real injuries to real workers, and we can get a sense of the nature of those injuries without risking injured workers' privacy (Figure 5). We also know that between 2017-2021, injuries to workers in the Tree Services CU amounted to 32,171 days of lost work.

Figure 5 - Quantity and types of injuries, Tree Services CU  2017-2021

Data sources: 

Worksafe BC. (n.d.-a). Industry Health and Safety Data. https://www.worksafebc.com/en/about-us/shared-data/interactive-tools/industry-health-safety-data

Worksafe BC. Employer Health and Safety Planning Toolkit. https://www.worksafebc.com/resources/about-us/shared-data/employer-health-safety-planning-tool-kit-quick-reference-guide?lang=en&direct