City stumps up £30k for injuries

A claim was made by an employee who slipped on a wet floor
A claim was made by an employee who slipped on a wet floor
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MORE than £30,000 has been paid to Edinburgh City Council workers for injuries relating to slips, falls and mishaps over the past two years.

Freedom of information powers show one worker – from the Services for Communities department – received a £7618.34 payout after he fell down a manhole.

The same department also paid £10,952 after a security door fell on a male worker and a further £5049 to an employee who complained about “inadequate lighting”.

On top of this, the council was forced to pay £6,600 to a health and social care worker after she “slipped on a wet floor”.

The council has ongoing claims for “injured arm pulling bin”, several lifting accidents, and a compensation claim for “repetitive strain injury”.

One claim that was refused was made by a female council employee who claimed she was injured after tripping over a “tree root on tarmac pavement”.

The compensation claims relate to a period between April 2010 and April 2012.

Critics have slammed the five-figure payout, saying taxpayers should not have to pay out compensation to council workers who lacked “common sense”.

Robert Oxley, campaign manager of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “The bill to taxpayers for compensation is unacceptably high.

“While some staff might have legitimate claims because of negligence, there is a worrying rise in compensation culture across local government offices.

“Taxpayers should not be footing the bill for cases where a bit of common sense would have avoided the accident.”

Eben Wilson, at TaxpayerScotland, said: “Councils spend millions on training courses and safety measures trying 
to avoid these claims, but 
they do not seem to stop as many payments as could be expected.

“While we need to show every sympathy and caring when there is serious injury, too many of these incidents involve large payouts for what appear to be less serious events. Once again, we see the ease with which local councils end up spending taxpayers’ money, usually due to poor management that does not stand tough against trivial claims.”

A spokeswoman for the city council said the authority has a legal right to meet legitimate claims.

He said: “It is important that we use public money wisely but we appreciate that in some cases it is appropriate that claimants are financially ­compensated.”

Earlier this year, The Evening News revealed how the number of motorists claiming compensation after hitting a pothole on Capital roads has soared with a new legal claim being made against the city council every day.

As a result, the city pays out an average of almost £40,000 a year in compensation.

The 379 claims made in 2011 was 71 per cent ahead of the equivalent figure for a year ­earlier.

Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling councils combined have paid out £164,000 in compensation to employees since 2010.