Injuries at schools top 60,000

TINA LAW
Last updated 05:00 24/12/2012

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Fungi ingestion, falling objects, explosions and implosions were among the various causes of schoolyard injuries suffered by 57,855 Kiwi kids this year.

While the figure may appear alarming, ACC says the cost of treating such injuries dropped this year as fewer pupils and staff were injured at school.

Figures released by ACC under the Official Information Act show 61,362 people were injured at schools across New Zealand this year, down from 73,423 last year.

The cost of treating those injuries also dropped from $18.4 million last year to $15.6m this year.

Some 57,855 pupils were injured at school this year, costing $13.9m and 3507 staff were injured while at school at a cost of $1.7m.

The single biggest cause of injury to pupils was a loss of balance or personal control, resulting in 17,902 claims. Some 7492 pupils were knocked over by an object or were involved in a collision. The third most common cause of injury to pupils was lifting or carrying with 2676 claims.

Four pupils were hurt when they ingested fungi. Two were injured after receiving an electrical shock and six were hurt during an explosion, blasting or implosion. Some 36 pupils were exposed to the elements and 251 were hurt during a collapse of a stack or bulk goods.

The single biggest cause of injury to staff was lifting or carrying, which saw 842 claims made.

The face was the most commonly injured body part for pupils with 7515 claims for facial injuries and 6144 pupils injured their ankles. Fingers and thumbs came in a close third with 5986 injuries and 5696 pupils injured their knees.

Staff most commonly injured their lower back or spine, their knees, neck or the vertebrae at the back of their head.

The vast majority of injuries (44,542) were treated by general practitioners while 20,182 injuries to pupils and staff needed radiologist treatment.

Some 12,768 saw a physiotherapist while 4534 consulted specialists and 3703 needed dental treatment.

The most costly single injury to a pupil at school in New Zealand this year was $78,894 and the most costly single injury to a worker at a school was $46,777.

ACC would not say what the injuries were or what caused them.

Canterbury-Westland Secondary Principals' Association chairman Neil Wilkinson said it was good news for the Government that the costs have gone down, but he was not sure the reason why.

Schools put a heavy emphasis on making sure playgrounds were safe, he said.

"Maybe people are becoming more safety conscious and everyone could be treating it more seriously now," he said.

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- The Press

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