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How staff stress and injuries cost city council €2.4m

STRESS at work, needle-stick wounds and swimming pool mishaps all contributed to a €2.4m compensation bill paid by Dublin City Council to its own workers.

One staff member was paid €120,000 in damages by the council for 'stress at work', the Herald can reveal.

And a further €96,607 was paid to four employees for 'unknown causes'.

The sums were part of the damages paid by the council to its staff between 2010 and 2012.

Some €2,373,455.61 was paid out as part of the personal injury or property damage cases, authority chiefs revealed.

 

Pothole

The causes also included golf course accidents, slippery roads and footpath incidents.

Some 16 staff members were paid a total of €23,056.66 for needle injuries.

The bulk of the claims were personal injuries. A sum of €17,281.39 was given to an employee who was injured by a manhole and €9,559.15 was paid out for a pothole injury.

A personal injury caused by traffic lights led to a €2,000 payout and a swimming pool incident was the source of a €1,500 settlement.

Some €12,301.41 was paid to an employee whose injury was caused by ice on the road.

Equipment and materials accidents led to 13 settlements amounting to €70,819.67 over the three-year period.

The council – which employs more than 5,500 workers – received 65 personal injury claims from staff last year.

A total of 51 actions were settled, with the average payout coming to €19,822.15. The total sum for the year was €1,010,929.65.

Staff lodged 66 claims in 2011. Some 46 were settled at an average cost of €19,627.80 per case and a total cost of €902,878.80, the information provided to the Herald shows.

Both years were a dramatic increase on the figure for 2010, when 61 claims were received and 42 were settled at an average payout of €10,943.98 per action and an overall cost of €459,647.16.

The compensation bill is set to rise as some 155 injury claims remain outstanding.

Some 37 are before the High Court, 46 are at Circuit Court level and the remainder are at the pre-proceedings stage.

While the council's insurance meets the cost of claims in excess of €500,000, sums below that amount come from the council's own budget.

The council also receives hundreds of legal claims from the public ever year. Some €6m was paid out in compensation to the public in 2012.

comurphy@herald.ie


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