Birmingham City Council has paid out £1750 in compensation to an employee after a toilet seat collapsed, causing personal injuries to him.
Over the last 5 years, the council has paid around £5m to employees for various claims including slips, trips, falls, and asbestos exposure.
Around £500,000 was paid out by the council last year for 128 employer liability claims, with a total of 274 claims of this nature made in the last five years.
One of the highest payouts was £66,089 handed to one employee because they had not received the right training, while another received £30,000 for experiencing unsafe working practices. Another received £19,948 for the same reason.
The council also paid out £36,452 for asbestos exposure, and another employee who was hit by a falling object received £15,000.
£11,000 was paid out in compensation for a worker who developed hand-arm vibration syndrome.
The council stated they could not divulge specific information about the incidents due to data laws but it did reveal the average compensation payout between April to December was £3753.
A council spokesman said: “Over the period concerned the council employed up to 48,000 individuals.
“The claims brought against the council represent around 0.4 per cent of the council’s workforce.
“The health, safety and welfare of the council’s employees is a paramount consideration and the council prides itself on the way that safety is actively managed within the council and wider community.
“There is of course always room for improvements and when accidents do occur, appropriate reviews are undertaken, safety policy is revised as required and lessons learned to ensure that we continue to maintain high standards of safety.”
A Walsall based employer liability specialist put the alleged compensation culture into perspective.
“Everybody talks about the compensation culture and claims that health and safety has gone mad, but it does in fact serve a purpose.
“There is a real need for health and safety provisions, especially when manual handling is part of the job.
“When things go wrong in the workplace compensation payouts can range from anything between £2,000 for a crushed finger to tens of thousands for work-related stress – costs that can easily be prevented.
“In our experience, all too often employers, whether a local authority or not, fail to adequately risk assess tasks being performed in the workplace.”