Jul Parojinog, health care assistant, attended Hearts and Hands Conference, a one-day event in Vancouver organized by WorkSafeBC to focus on the health and well-being of health care assistants. Photo: Kevin Griffin
Jul Parojinog, health care assistant, attended Hearts and Hands Conference, a one-day event in Vancouver organized by WorkSafeBC to focus on the health and well-being of health care assistants. Photo: Kevin Griffin

When most people think of dangerous jobs in B.C., it’s probably a safe bet that a health care assistant isn’t on their radar.

According to workplace statistics, it should be. The women and men working as frontline caregivers in residential care homes and hospitals have a workplace injury rate of 8.7 per 100 workers — four times the B.C. average of 2.1 for all workers.

Outdoor work in the forestry industry remains the province’s most dangerous occupation, with an injury rate of 25 injuries per 100 workers.

Health care assistants, however, register more time-loss injuries than transport truck drivers, construction trades helpers and labourers, and carpenters.

There is one statistic where HCAs lead all occupations, according to Stephen Symon, manager of health care and social services, industry and labour services at WorkSafeBC. At 16,000 time-loss injury claims between 2012 and 2016, HCAs had the most of any occupation in B.C.

Symon said during that same period, time-loss claims among HCAs rose 11 per cent.

Symon was at a WorkSafeBC conference on Tuesday at the Italian Cultural Centre that brought together 250 health care assistants for the first time in Metro Vancouver. HCAs met to learn best practices among…