Council staff in Wellington weren't injuring themselves quite as badly in the last financial year compared with the year before - and the evidence is showing up in the ACC costs.

Lumbar sprains and ligament damage took staff out for a decent chunk of time in the 2015/16 year and drove the ACC claim costs significantly higher than 2016/17.

Despite Wellington City Council employees suffering about the same amount of injuries both years, costs plunged about $60,000 for the latest year, though the figure could change depending on how injuries developed.

In the last year there were 77 work-related ACC injury claims, compared with 73 the year before, according to a health safety and security report.


For 2016/17 the claim costs were only $36,285, compared with $98,963 the year before.

"In the 15/16 year the injuries where the highest costs were attributed were ligament damage and lumbar sprains," said health, safety and wellness manager Deborah Hammond.

"In comparison the 16/17 year saw the highest claim costs attributed to elbow, wrist and knee sprains. Lumbar sprains and ligament damage by the very nature of their injuries take longer for workers to fully rehabilitate back to full fitness, and explains the higher costs attributed to these injuries."

This was reflected in the number of work days lost due to work-related injury. The last year showed 95 work days were lost, while 369 were lost in the previous year.

Council spokesman Richard MacLean said the lower costs were directly related to the smaller number of lost work days.

"In the 15/16 there were claims that resulted in workers requiring surgery and lengthy rehabilitation. This results in higher vocational - income compensation - and medical -surgery, investigations, consultations, etc - costs.

"In addition claim costs can and will still be apportioned to the 16/17 year . . . which means the figure reported in 2016/17 will in time continue to increase, if claims in this period are still open and being managed by the council."

MacLean said the "big picture" was that council injury rates were "pretty stable" and intention was that they'd fall "due to all the effort we're putting into health and safety and accident-prevention work in conjunction with ACC".