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Dublin Employees Making Increased Number of Claims for Needlestick Injuries

The number of compensation claims for needlestick injuries made by employees of Dublin City Council has increased over the past three years.

The year-on-year increases in compensation claims for needlestick injuries was revealed by Fianna Fáil Councillor Jim O’Callaghan, who has analysed personal injury claims made by Dublin City Council employees over the past three years.

According to Councillor O´Callaghan, it is of particular concern that employees´ claims for needlestick injuries have increased in each of the past three years, and he called on Dublin City Council to “review its measures and introduce safer systems of work for its employees immediately”.

Councillor O´Callaghan also raised the question of whether cutbacks in the council´s finances had resulted in a reduction of appropriate training and the provision of personal protection equipment for council employees. A spokesperson for Dublin City Council later told the press that this was not the case.

The data relating to compensation claims for needlestick injuries was included in figures that revealed Dublin City Council paid out more than €8 million in the settlement of personal injury claims during 2014.

Although the majority of the €8 million paid in settlement of personal injury claims was paid to members of the public who most commonly suffered broken limbs, and shoulder and back injuries, due to slips, trips and falls on council-maintained property, €617,000 was paid to council employees.

Claims for Needlestick Injuries Made by the Public

There was no information in Councillor O´Callaghan´s revelations relating to claims for needlestick injuries made by the public against Dublin City Council, but – historically – these have not proved to be successful.

In 2013, simultaneous claims for needlestick injuries against Dublin Council were made by the mothers of two toddlers who had been playing with syringes discarded in Killinarden Park. Neither child had suffered an injury after piercing their hands with the syringes, and the claims were dismissed.

The judge presiding over both claims for needlestick injuries – Mr Justice Matthew Deery – commented that Dublin City Council was making reasonable efforts to prevent the risk of needlestick injuries to park users, and the claim that the local authority had acted “with reckless disregard of the children” could not be substantiated.