A Western Bay of Plenty council officer assaulted on the job is one of a surge of incidents affecting the health and safety of council staff and contractors in the past year.
From July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, the Western Bay of Plenty District Council recorded 150 contractor incidents, which includes all safety events reported directly from the council's external contractors.
The majority of these relate to near-miss reports and did not include five people needing medical treatment for injuries.
In each of the two years prior, the council recorded 123 and 97 contractor incidents and just one person in each year needing injuries treated.
The figures come as part of a report to the council's Audit and Risk Committee Meeting today.
In the past three years, the council has had just one physical assault on an employee.
On April 29, 2020, a compliance officer was assaulted while investigating a complaint in rural Pukehina. The incident happened during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Council people and customer services group manager Jan Pedersen said compliance officers had been responding to a customer service request regarding earthworks.
"The incident resulted in a kick to the stomach. The safety event is categorised as a non-injury incident, as the staff member did not require follow-up medical treatment."
The report said despite the lack of physical injury, the offender was charged by the police and subsequently pleaded guilty in court.
In the same past three years, the council's external contractors were subject to five instances where customers were verbally aggressive in their behaviour. However, no sustained physical injuries were reported, Pedersen said.
Live reaction: 'We've done this before ... we can do this again'
City Council to address pollution at Mount Maunganui
Katikati medicinal cannabis firm granted commercial licence
The five injuries that needed medical treatment, as detailed in the report, related to council employees each involved in a work-safety event resulting in a visit to the doctor, physiotherapy, or hospital.
"Although the medical treatment cases increased from one to five in the last year, we can confirm that all five medical treatment injuries were on the lower end of the safety incident threshold, such as sprains and strains relating to trips, slips, and general discomfort," Pedersen said.
Report author executive assistant people and customer Paige Marshall said other lost time injuries included a lower back injury, ankle injury and strained leg muscle.