€1m was awarded to 22 Galway people who sustained injuries in workplace accidents last year

A total of €1m was awarded to 22 Galway people who sustained injuries in workplace accidents last year.

The average award was €47,400 according to an analysis of 2013 workplace claims released by the Injuries Board, the Government body which makes personal injury awards.

Highlighting the importance of workplace safety, the board revealed that €24m was awarded nationally to 826 claimants who were injured at work last year. This compared to €22m the previous year.

Galway had the sixth highest number of awards in the country after Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Kildare and Tipperary. Mayo was ranked 15th while the other western county, Roscommon, had one of the lowest levels of claims.

Key statistics from the Injuries Board analysis of employer liability awards in 2013 are as follows:

· Slips, trips and falls were the most common accident type accounting for almost one third (30.8 per cent ) of all awards for workplace accidents. Others included lifting/manual handling and cuts.

· The vast majority of awards (80 per cent ) were under €38,000.

· The average award for a workplace accident was €28,886. The average for men was €29,523 while women received €27,441.

· The majority of awards were to workers in the 25 to 34 age group (31.6 per cent ).

· Men are twice as likely as women to sustain a workplace injury. They accounted for seven out of 10 awards (69.4 per cent ) - which was slightly up on the previous year - while women represented the remaining three out of 10 payouts.

· Over the last three years Thursdays in November have proved to be the most common days for workplace accidents while the least number occurred on Sundays. The safest month was April.

The highest awards nationally last year went to people who sustained workplace injuries from falling from a height (almost €694,000 was paid out ) being trapped in a machine (€432,000 ), being struck by flying or stationary objects, (€364,000 ) and work pressure (€163,400 ). Claimants received (€160,400 ) for unsafe systems of work, €157,000 for being attacked by an animal and almost €155,000 for an explosion.

The Injuries Board awarded compensation of €24m in respect of 826 claims for workplace accidents in 2013, compared to €22m compensation for 807 awards in 2012. The average award for a workplace accident last year also increased from €27,286 in 2012 to €28,886 in 2013. The highest award for a workplace accident last year was €432,000, a substantial increase on the previous year’s figure of €332,143. The highest award in 2013 related to a fatal accident.

Commenting on the figures, Patricia Byron, CEO of the Injuries Board, noted the increasing numbers in employment as the economic recovery gathers pace.

“From a peak rate of unemployment in 2012 increasing numbers of workers are rejoining the workforce. Perhaps reflective of this, our data shows a year on year increase in the number of awards made as a result of accidents in the workplace. As the economy starts to grow again, and as businesses around the country begin to expand, it is important that a renewed focus on health and safety is cultivated.”

Claims can be made directly to the Injuries Board by telephoning its Lo-Call helpline on 1890 829 121 from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, by logging on to www.injuriesboard.ie or by writing to the InjuriesBoard.ie, PO Box 8, Clonakilty, Co Cork.

By law personal injury claims (with some minor exclusions ) must come to the Injuries Board for assessment regardless of whether the claimant has legal representation or not. Direct claimants can have their claim assessed for a refundable fee of €45.

In assessing claims the board makes no distinction between a direct applicant and a claimant with representation who can typically pay an intermediary the equivalent of up to 10 per cent or more of the value of his/her award.

An Order to Pay, issued by the Injuries Board is legally binding and has the same standing as a court award.

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