FIFE Council paid out more than £500,000 in liability claims, new figures have revealed.

The amount which the local authority had to stump up in the last 12 months went up from £513,726 to £562,407 with a total of 39 claims settled through awards varying from £275 to £48,320.

There were 11 cases with payouts of more than £20,000.

Figures in a report to Fife Council’s assets and corporate services committee showed that two of these related to disease, one for moving and handling, three for slip/trip/fall incidents while others were deemed to come from “other” causes.

There were 16 claims under the ‘Others’ category and they related to needlestick violence and aggression, anxiety, being struck by vehicle or machinery, cuts, dog bites, HAVS (Hand Arm Vibration), hand injuries and falls.

Over the last year, Fife Council did received two Notices of Contravention (NoC) from the Health and Safety Executive.

One was for an incident at Lumphinnans Primary School when three children were injured during an outdoor cooking class.

The other followed an excavation collapse and accident to a subcontractor where HSE found four material breaches.

A report to councillors said it had been noted in the NoC that the service had proactively taken steps towards addressing matters identified by improving the permit-to-dig system and form.

Although more than last year’s figure of £513,726, the amount paid out in 2016 was £965,769 and £1.457 million in 2012-13.

A “steady decline” was reported in the number of reportable accidents to employees.

The report stated: “There was a significant reduction in the number of injuries to employees which required reporting to the HSE.

“Although there was a downward trend across the majority of incident causes, there was a significant drop in the number of manual handling incidents (from 27 to three) and slip/trip/falls (21 to 15).

“Although the cost of claims is one of the Fife Council’s performance indicators, this is the one indicator that the Health Safety and Wellbeing Team have less control over.

“We can aim to reduce the number of accidents and occupational diseases through risk management but not the likelihood of an employee claiming or indeed the amount paid out.”