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West Yorkshire Fire Service chiefs to discuss 522 per cent rise in cost of staff who get hurt or are sick
Nearly £1 million has been earmarked to deal with 225 accidents at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service sites during a 12-month period, an increase of £768,000 or 522 per cent from two years ago, the service has revealed.
Although the numbers of accidents have dropped by 25 per cent since 2010/11 when there were 299, the costs have risen from £147,000 in 2009/10 to £915,350 in 2011/12 with 915 working days lost in the last financial year.
Eighty per cent of the 2011/12 accidents, 164, involved operational personnel, firefighters and ranks above them, while 40 of the accidents, 20 per cent, involved non-operational staff.
Figures released by the West Yorkshire Fire Authority also showed that the 1,853 employees were forecast to have an average of 6.32 days off sick each for the year 2012/13 which is above the target of 6.25.
The average for firefighters, who come under operations response, is 1.59 days for the months from July to September 2012, slightly above the 1.56 target.
The Health and Safety Executive was called in to investigate the circumstances of the Bingley incident in which a senior firefighter was found at the bottom of a fire engine inspection pit on March 1, 2011, while he was carrying out routine duties.
No further details of the incident were released but it was understood that the firefighter was on the critical list in hospital for some time.
He was found at the bottom of the pit where he had been lying for some time before he was discovered.
The Ilkley incident which happened in May 2011, involved three firefighters being injured, but not seriously.
The circumstances have also been investigated by the HSE.
The fire authority has set aside cash to cover sick pay, cost of physiotherapy and litigation.
The top five most common causes of accidents in 2011/12 were non-specific injuries while performing tasks such as back pain following training or shoulder pain, slips, trips and falls, contact with sharp objects, insect bites or cuts from road accidents, struck by falling objects and exposure to heat, fire, or hazardous substances.
The report by the Human Resources Committee will be discussed on Friday at 10.30am at West Yorkshire Fire Service headquarters in Birkenshaw, Bradford.