More than 160 Health Care Assistants are in the capital for the second annual Hearts and Hands conference, with caregiver safety a priority.
WorkSafeBC says there are more than 32,000 caregivers in homes, residential care facilities and hospitals in the province who have the highest number of accepted time-loss injury claims of any occupation in B.C.
WorkSafeBC reports more than 16,000 time-loss injury claims between 2012 and 2016, with the highest cases of residential care injuries, followed by home care and hospitals.
“We’ve seen an 11 per cent increase in the last five years, from 2,961 time-loss injury claims in 2012 to 3,274 claims in 2016,” WorkSafeBC Health Care and Social Services, Industry and Labour Services Manager Stephen Symon said.
“These are preventable injuries we’re seeing. We believe improved safe-work practices will reduce injuries.”
WorkSafeBC says there are three types of injuries: overexertion, acts of violence and slips, trips and falls.
According to their statistics, 36 per cent of all health care injuries is reported by HCAs with 89 per cent of the claims filed by women.
Workers over the age of 55 accounts for 22 per cent of injuries.
In the Victoria region, which includes Cowichan Valley, musculoskeletal injuries made up half of the types of injuries for caregivers in 2016, with 56 per cent in hospitals.
Of injuries from violent acts, 21 per cent of injuries came from long term care.
In the Nanaimo region, including Alberni-Clayoquot, 65 per cent of claims reported in 2016 were musculoskeletal injuries in long term care.
The highest number of infectious disease cases occurred in the Courtenay region last year, ranging from nine to 17 per cent.
The Hearts and Hands Conference will focus on the challenges of staying healthy while working in health care and offers coping strategies for working with families.
That includes using laughter to promote self-care.
The Victoria Conference is being held at the Saanich Fair Grounds.