It may seem like a simple injury, but sprained wrists are behind the biggest chunk of ACC claim costs paid out to Wellington council staff.

More than $8100 was paid out to Wellington City Council staff and contractors in the 2016/17 financial year for sprained wrist ligaments, council figures show.

The top five injuries suffered by staff in that year caused just over $30,000 in ACC costs - out of the $36,000 total.

Other injuries that caused the most costs were leg, arm, and thoracic sprains, followed by bruising.


Bruises that left the skin intact were responsible for $2000 of the ACC costs paid out to workers.

The council's ACC costs have dropped significantly since the 2015/16 financial year, something that is put down to workers suffering less serious injuries.

"In the 15/16 year 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," said council spokesman Richard MacLean.

"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."

More costs were attributed to ligament damage and lumbar strains in the previous year, 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."

The injury in 2016/17 that caused a worker to have the most time off work was a fall or trip. The employee involved was off work for 11 days.

The next highest number of work days lost - 10 - were due to another employee suffering muscle stress from handling objects.


Muscle stress was the culprit in three of the top five injuries that took workers away for the most days.

One worker also had six and a half days off after being hit by falling objects.