Filing a WCB claim

The Report: December 2006 vol.27 num.6


While moving a patient on the xray table, I felt something -pop" inmy back. It really hurt! But I stayed at work, because if I wenthome, my coworkers would be left even more short-staffed, and Ididnt think it would be fair to them.

I filled out the hospitals injury report (not WCB) and was told by theemployer that this was the same as filing with the WCB. I have since learnedthat nothing has been filed with WCB regarding my injury.

I received physio through the hospitals PEARS program. Im still at work, but Im experiencing pain. Should I file a formal WCB report even though Ididnt miss any work?

Many of HSAs workplaces have PEARS (Prevention and Early Active Return-to- Work Safely) programs, musculoskeletal injury prevention programs and early intervention programs offering HSA members physiotherapy and other forms of early intervention treatment for pain or symptoms.

Employers and employees alike support these programs, and that -an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

However, there is one aspect of these programs HSA members must be vigilant about. You may have been able to get physiotherapy right away ... and therefore you didnt have to miss work ... but you still have to file a report with the Workers Compensation Board (WorkSafeBC).

Many members may not realize that you do not have to miss time or lose wages in order to report an injury to the WCB. In fact WCB policy says it is mandatory for both your doctor and your employer to report an injury that requires treatment or that causes symptoms at all.

If you do not report, you may encounter real problems some time down the road ... either if you continue to have symptoms, or when your sore back or tendinitis flare-up. If it has been more than one year since you first reported this problem to your employer, or first had treatment, you may be out of time. You will have to live with the fact that WCB will consider you to have a -pre-existing non-workrelated condition" for the rest of your life.

It doesnt help either if your employer has broken the law by failing to send your incident report to the WCB. It might possibly get them a fine, but it wont get you an extension of time to file your claim.

Whether you miss work or not, whether you lose wages or not, and even if you have filed an incident report with your employer, file that claim with the WCB. You are the only one who is going to suffer if you dont.

Sarah OLeary represents HSA members at WCBappeal tribunals. Contact her at