Compensation paid to firefighters from injuries at work – 16020

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A request for information about compensation to fire fighters for injuries sustained at work

Ref: FOI/16021

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST

I am writing to confirm that the West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information you requested on 12th February 2015

Please find below a summary of our findings.

Request

  1. In the financial years 2013/2014 and 2014/15 please provide the number of settlements and the total paid out by your service as compensation to fire fighters for injuries sustained at work or as a result of their work duties or while on work premises. If possible please provide details of any legal costs paid by you associated with these claims.
  2. For each payout of compensation in excess of £2,000 please provide details of the amount of compensation, costs associated with the claim and a summary of the nature of the claim.

Reply

The total amount of compensation and number of claims paid out as compensation to fire fighters by West Midlands Fire Service is as follows

2013-2014 – £10,000

2014-2015 – £10,000

Please see attached spreadsheet for details of the amounts spent.  compensation-payments

Due to the relatively small number of claims within the years that you have requested in order to protect the identity of the data subjects we have undertaken the following:

  • Provided information about payments only for above £2,000.
  • Categorisation of the nature of the injury into three categories, Training, Operational or Other.

Further detail about individual incidents is classed as personal data and therefore attracts a Section 40(2) exemption under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Disclosure of the information may cause damage and distress to the individuals involved so would therefore be unfair to disclose it and contravene principle 1 of the Data Protection Act 1998.

In this case disclosure of specific injuries and amounts of compensation may lead to an individual being identified. The provision of more information about these categories may enable you to be able to identify the individual by virtue of other data that you may hold or other data that may come into your possession. When information is disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, it is treated as ‘applicant blind’ and is deemed to be suitable to be given to any requester. Therefore if you do not hold additional information to identify the claimant, it cannot be assumed that further information does not exist in the public domain. Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 is absolute in its nature and supports this decision therefore this does not require a public interest test.

The safety of all of our staff is paramount and we have a dedicated Safety, Health and Environment Team to support this. We’re proud of our commitment to safety and the significant part it plays in our culture. It is often praised and recognised by outside bodies. Fire-fighting has inherent dangers. However, we have a superb safety record which is reflected in the very low number of personal injury claims we receive. They have dropped by 60 per cent over the last decade. All claims are rigorously investigated and, where appropriate, defended with vigour. Our policies and procedures are constantly under review, and rigorous risk assessments are central to much of what we do. However, accidents do happen. When they do, we investigate, learn from and act upon them.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications. If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision please write to The Public Relations Department, West Midlands Fire Service, 99 Vauxhall Road, Birmingham, B7 4HW

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