5% of gardaí injured while on duty last year

One in 20 gardaí suffered an injury in the course of duty last year as the force reported a 5.5% increase in the number of occupational injuries.

A total of 687 accidents were recorded among the 12,838-strong force during 2016 — an annual increase of 36 injuries over the previous year.

It is the highest annual total in recent years and equates to 5.4% of all gardaí sustaining some work-related injury.

Two-fifths of all reported injuries resulted from assaults on members of the force — a total of 274 in 2016.

Slips, trips, and falls combined accounted for 18% of the total and road traffic collisions another 15%.

A total of 40 gardaí suffered needle-stick injuries, stab wounds, or exposure to blood or bodily fluid, while another 12 officers were injured by animals.

One garda required treatment for psychological shock or trauma last year compared to 13 in 2015.

Fifty gardaí suffered injuries which resulted in them being off duty for periods in excess of six months with the majority due to being assaulted or their involvement in a road accident. Another 56 officers required periods of recuperation of three to six months from their injuries.

Approximately half of all gardaí who suffered a work-related injury last year were able to report back for duty within a week.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show the highest rate of occupational injury was found among gardaí stationed in the Waterford division where almost 14% of staff reported a work-related incident in 2016 — over twice the national average.

A total of 30 assaults were recorded on gardaí in the county last year — more than one in 10 of all assaults on members of the force nationally.

Other high incidence rates of work-related injuries were recorded in Kerry (10.8%), the Garda traffic division (10%) and Tipperary and Wexford (both 8.2%).

A total of 40 gardaí among the 647 stationed in Cork City reported a work-related injury last year — over 6% of all staff. Half of all injuries in Cork City arose out of assaults.

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