The “Rough rugby tops the list of sports injury payouts” article in yesterday’s paper boasts the success of ACC’s Rugby-Smart programme that was introduced in 2001, reducing the number of serious spinal and brain injuries sustained while playing rugby from more than 10 a year to less than 3 a year.
It is curious that despite the obvious benefit of injury prevention schemes in the sports arena, the ACC is significantly reducing funding for injury prevention for the workplace. Even though New Zealand has a high incidence of workplace injury and disease, the expenditure on injury prevention in the workplace has been significantly tracking downwards. In 2005/06, ACC allocated $41.4mil to injury prevention in the workplace, by 2008/09 this was reduced to $39.5mil, and by 2011/12, it is forecast to fall to $26.7mil; a fall of over a third in the expenditure over 6 years – and of approximately 45% in real terms.
For every dollar invested in Health & Safety, N.Z’s economy saves $5. While reduction in spending on injury prevention might bring short-term savings to ACC, injury prevention provides long-term gains to the economy, and as the ACC Rugby-Smart programme demonstrates, benefits the individual as well.
Spokesperson for ACC Futures
09:33AM Monday, 30 January, 2012
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