A year after a midway accident left a ride operator seriously hurt, the province is now insuring workers who run the rides at the Saskatoon Exhibition.

Last summer, 21-year-old Dustin Desjarlais suffered a skull injury while working on a midway ride called the 1001 Nights.

Desjarlais survived, but during his recovery, he couldn't get benefits under the province's workers' compensation program.

Carnival companies — including West Coast Amusements, the company that operates rides at the Saskatoon Ex — are among 30 industries that aren't legally obliged to join the workers' compensation plan.

Without being part of the plan, an employee injured on the job can't get benefits.

This year, however, all the workers at the Saskatoon Ex will be covered, said Peter Federko, the CEO of the workers' compensation board.

"Their application for that voluntary coverage has been approved, pursuant to an agreement by West Coast, and accordingly they now have coverage under workers' compensation," he said.

The Saskatoon Ex begins Aug. 10-15.

In Regina, where the Queen City Ex started Aug. 4 and will run until Aug. 8, North American Midway runs the rides.

While North American Midway isn't in the provincial workers' compensation plan, it buys private insurance to cover all the workers.