The Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Compensation Act 2001 (IPRC Act 2001) section 25, defines ‘accident’ to include:
- a specific event, or a series of events, that involves the application of a force (including gravity) or resistance external to the human body, or involves the sudden movement of the body to avoid such a force or resistance external to the human body
- the inhalation or oral ingestion of any solid, liquid, gas, or foreign object on a specific occasion, which kind of occurrence does not include the inhalation or ingestion of a virus, bacterium, protozoa, or fungi unless that inhalation or ingestion is the result of the criminal act of a person other than the injured person
- a burn, or exposure to radiation or rays of any kind, on a specific occasion, which kind of occurrence does not include a burn or exposure caused by exposure to the elements
- the absorption of any chemical through the skin
- any exposure to the elements, or to extremes of temperature or environment.
Accident Compensation Corporation
The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) administers New Zealand’s accident compensation scheme, which provides injury insurance for all New Zealand citizens and residents, and temporary visitors to New Zealand.
A claim is made to ACC when treatment for an injury is first sought from any recognised treatment provider, such as a doctor or a physiotherapist. Claims to ACC are divided into different categories for funding purposes and only those that are work-related are included in this release. Furthermore, this release only includes claims with costs recorded against them. Any claims where the only treatment was provided at a hospital accident and emergency department (A&E) are not included as the costs of treatment provided are not recorded against individual claims, and are instead bulk funded by ACC directly to the district health boards (DHBs).
Age specifies the age in years, as at the date of injury, and is calculated from the date of birth. This age may differ from the worker’s age when the claim is lodged, the age when compensation is received, or the age at death (if the worker dies of the injury).
Body site of injury
Body site of injury is the part or parts of the body injured in the accident.
Body site is classified using the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th revision, Australian Modification, Second Edition (ICD-10-AM). The codes of the classification combine information on the type of injury, illness or disease, and the body site in a detailed, hierarchical manner.
Claims for fatal work-related injuries
Claims for fatal work-related injuries are those made to ACC for deaths that resulted from workplace injuries (for example, a fatal work-related fall) or occupational diseases resulting in death, such as asbestos-related illnesses.
The statistics in this release are not a definitive count of work-related fatalities. First, because not all fatal work-related injuries are the subject of claims to ACC. Secondly, in these statistics, deaths that are accepted as work-related by the ACC are counted in the year that the injury took place. The ACC statistics count deaths in the year that the death took place. The concept of counting deaths in the year the injury took place is problematic in the case of occupational disease, where the effects of exposure to known carcinogens or other hazardous substances may take many years to become apparent. To create consistency in the count of work-related deaths across years, only deaths occurring within 15 months of the end of the reference year are included in the totals for ‘final’ estimates. In the case of provisional estimates of work-related fatalities, deaths occurring within three months of the end of the reference year are counted.
Claims for medical fees only
Claims for medical fees only involve payments by ACC to recognised treatment providers (for example, doctors, physiotherapists, and pharmacists), but do not involve any entitlement payments to the injured person to cover, for example, rehabilitation or the loss of earnings. The distinction between claims for medical fees only and claims involving entitlements has been used in this release to help separate the minor injuries from the more serious injuries, respectively.
Treatment provided at a hospital’s A&E is bulk funded by ACC directly to the DHBs and is not recorded against individual claims. Claims involving treatment provided at a hospital’s A&E only are not included in the figures in this release.
Claims involving entitlement payments
Claims involving entitlement payments to the injured person (or the deceased’s next of kin) include weekly compensation payments, treatment, rehabilitation payments, and death payments. The distinction between claims for medical fees only and claims involving entitlement payments has been used in this release to help separate the minor injuries from the more serious injuries, respectively.
Death payments include funeral grants, survivor’s grants, childcare payments, and weekly compensation, and are paid to the deceased’s next of kin.
Diagnosis of injury and illness/disease
The diagnosis is the type of injury, illness or disease sustained by the worker, and recorded on the claim by the treatment provider.
The diagnosis is classified using the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th revision, Australian Modification, Second Edition (ICD-10-AM). The codes of the classification combine information on the type of injury, illness or disease, and the body site in a detailed, hierarchical manner.
Where more than one diagnosis was provided for the claim, the first was used. Diagnoses are aggregated into three groups: ‘Injury, poisoning and other consequences of external causes’, ‘Illness and disease’, and ‘Other and undefined’. These groupings are based on National Data Standards for Injury Surveillance (NDS-IS) recommendations.
Employment status indicates whether a worker is working for himself/herself (that is, self-employed) or for another person or entity (that is, an employee).
The employment status figures cover all those ‘working for wages and salaries’, including those working for employers who belong to the ACC partnership programme. The self-employed figures include those classified as ‘self-employed and not employing others’, but exclude those ‘working without pay or profit in a family business’. While this definition is non-standard for the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS), it corresponds closely to the definitions used for workplace accident insurance.
See ‘Claims involving entitlement payments’.
The ethnic group or groups that people identify with or feel they belong to in terms of cultural affiliation.
An ethnic group is a social group whose members:
- share a sense of common origins
- claim a common and distinctive history and destiny
- possess one or more dimensions of collective cultural individuality
- feel a sense of unique collective solidarity.
It is possible that an injured worker, in an ACC claim, will list more than one ethnic group. However, only one ethnic group has been included in the claims data used for these statistics, chosen on the basis of the ethnicity recorded in the first column of the data.
The HLFS allows for up to three ethnic groups to be coded for each respondent, and then the following prioritising system is used to allocate a single ethnic group code:
- any person who reports a 'Māori' ethnicity is allocated to the 'Māori' category
- any person who reports a 'Pacific peoples' ethnicity (that is Samoan, Cook Island Maori, Niuean, Tongan, or Other Pacific), but not 'Māori' ethnicity, is allocated to the 'Pacific peoples' category
- any person who reports a 'Chinese', 'Indian' and/or 'Other' ethnicity, but not 'Māori' and/or 'Pacific peoples' ethnicity, is allocated to the 'Other' category
- any person who reports a 'European/Pakeha' ethnicity only is allocated to the 'European/Pakeha' category only.
This difference in coding multiple ethnicity means that where ACC and HLFS figures are combined, as in the calculation of incidence rates, the numerator and denominator are measured in different ways, even though the labels of the categories used in each are the same.
There was a break in the series of incidence rates by ethnicity between 2006 and 2007 because of a population rebase in the HLFS (see ‘HLFS population rebase and incidence rates by ethnicity’ for details). Therefore, trends in these rates will not be discussed in this release.
Statistics NZ has recently reviewed the collection and classification of ethnicity for these injury statistics and plans to change to an improved method for the statistics released in October 2010. The change will start a new series for all work-related injury statistics using ethnicity.
Fatal injury claims
See ‘Claims for fatal work-related injuries’ above.
Claims are included in these tables under the calendar year in which the injury occurred. For final figures, claims are only included if some costs are recorded within 15 months of the end of the calendar year. This allows for a consistent comparison between the years. Details of claims may change after this time. For example, costs may continue to be incurred for many years, and death may occur after this time. However, these statistics will not be updated to reflect these changes.
The above definition of final figures has been developed for the purposes of this release only.
Full-time equivalent employees (FTEs)
Full-time equivalent employees are the number of full-time employees plus half the number of part-time employees.
The full-time equivalent employee (FTE) measure is used instead of ‘total number of employees’ for the calculation of the incidence rate, as part-time employees have a lower exposure to injury because they work fewer hours than full-time employees. This allows the denominator of the incidence rate to be expressed as units that each have approximately the same risk of work-related injury. The FTE is a standard measure used in labour force statistics, for example, to calculate average weekly earnings. The numbers used in the tables for FTEs are derived from the HLFS. The FTE figures used in this release are annual averages.
Being derived from a sample survey, FTE figures are subject to both sampling and non-sampling error, and should therefore be seen as indicative rather than definitive.
Geographic region where the injury occurred
Geographic region is the part of New Zealand or the world where the injury event took place.
The physical address or place of the injury event is classified according to the territorial authority (TA) in which it occurred, and these TAs are grouped into regions of New Zealand. The classification also contains a group of codes for injuries that occurred outside New Zealand.
The regions reported in this release mostly align with regional council boundaries, but in a few cases TAs straddle these boundaries. Those TAs have been assigned to the region containing the greatest proportion of their population, on the basis of the usually resident population count, 2001 Census. The TAs involved are Franklin, Waitomo, Taupo, Rotorua, Stratford, Rangitikei, Tararua, and Waitaki districts.
Household Labour Force Survey
Statistics NZ’s quarterly Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS), produces a range of statistics on the employed, unemployed, and those not in the labour force.
The target population of the HLFS is the civilian, usually resident, non-institutionalised population aged 15 years and over. It therefore excludes people in non-private dwellings such as hospitals and prisons, visitors from overseas who are staying for less than 12 months, the armed forces, overseas diplomats in New Zealand, and people living on offshore islands (except Waiheke Island).
The HLFS provides the FTE figures that are used in this release to calculate injury incidence rates by age, sex, ethnic group, employment status, industry, occupation, and region where the injury occurred. The FTE figures used in this release are annual averages.
HLFS population rebase and incidence rates by ethnicity
The December 2008 quarter HLFS release included a population rebase which revised the statistical series back to the 2001 Census to reflect revisions to the population estimates derived from the 2006 Census. In addition, population benchmarks for the Māori ethnic group were introduced to improve the quality of the Māori estimates. The 2007 final and 2008 provisional incidence rates included in this release have used the rebased FTE figures, but earlier incidence rates have not been revised. For most of the figures, the FTE figures after the rebase were similar to those before the rebase, so that the incidence rate calculations were also similar. However, the new Māori population benchmark increased the number of FTEs for Māori in 2007 from 183,000 before the rebase to 228,000 after the rebase. Using the pre-rebase FTEs, the final incidence rate for Māori in 2007 would have been 157, but, using the rebased FTEs, the incidence rate is 126. This change has caused a break in the series of incidence rates by ethnicity between 2006 and 2007. Therefore, trends in these rates are not discussed in this release.
The incidence rate is the number of work-related claims per 1,000 FTEs.
These rates are used as a means of comparing levels of injuries and fatal injuries claims between groups with different numbers of workers. This rate is used by the International Labour Organization to enable comparisons of work-related injuries between countries.
Industry is the type of activity carried out by the organisation, enterprise, business, or unit of economic activity within which the injured person worked.
The Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), New Zealand Version 1996, (Version 4.1) is used to classify each business.
Because of the high proportion of claims where the industry was unknown (23 percent in 2008), tables and commentary on trends by industry are not included in this release.
The definition of work-related injuries covered by ACC is determined by legislation, currently the Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Compensation (IPRC) Act 2001. The IPRC Act 2001 covers both ‘personal injury’ and work-related gradual process, disease, or infection.
The IPRC Act 2001, section 26, defines a 'personal injury' to include:
- a physical injury or mental injury caused by a physical injury
- mental injury caused by criminal act
- work-related mental injury that is suffered by a person through witnessing a sudden traumatic event at work (added by the IPRC Amendment Act 2008 from 1 October 2008)
- damage to dentures or prostheses that replace a part of the human body.
The IPRC Act 2001 also covers work-related gradual process, disease or infection.
‘Gradual process’ is defined as:
Changes that result in personal injury and develop slowly and progressively over time, although not necessarily over a definable period such as:
- the effects of exposure to noise or fumes over a few months at a workplace
- the physical deterioration resulting from an activity such as keyboarding where there are no specific events involving impacts or strain
- the progressive degenerative change due to the ageing process.
The second category covers occupational overuse syndromes (OOS), a range of conditions caused/contributed to by work factors resulting in localised inflammations, compression syndromes and pain syndromes.
Occupation is the claimant’s occupation at the time of injury. Occupation is classified according to the New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (NZSCO), 1995, Version 2.0.
Claims are included in these tables under the calendar year in which the injury occurred. For provisional figures, claims are only included if some costs are recorded within three months of the end of the calendar year. For 2008, provisional figures are as at 31 March 2009.
Rehabilitation is a process of active change and support to help a person with an injury to regain his or her health and independence, and therefore the ability to participate in his or her usual activities, as far as is practicable.
Rehabilitation payments include counselling, travel and accommodation for treatment, childcare, attendant care, equipment, and home modifications.
Scene of injury
The scene of injury is a description of the location of the where the injury happened. It includes the likes of homes, farms, and streets.
Weekly compensation payments
Weekly compensation payments are payments that ACC will pay to clients who cannot work because of injury, based on 80 percent of weekly income before the injury occurred. The payment compensates for loss of earnings, or loss of potential earning capacity. A spouse, partner or dependant of a deceased claimant may be entitled to weekly compensation. (ACC now uses the term loss of earnings compensation instead of weekly compensation.)
Work-related claims are those made to ACC for work-related injuries.
The IPRC Act 2001, s28(1), defines a work-related injury as an injury which happens when the worker is:
- at his or her place of employment, including when the place moves (as it does for a taxi driver), or is a place to or through which the worker moves, or
- having a rest or meal break at work, or
- travelling to or from work in transport provided by the employer, or
- travelling from work in order to receive treatment for a work-related injury.
In this Hot Off the Press, figures for the number of claims (except for the number of fatal claims) have been rounded to the nearest thousand. Figures for the number of fatal claims are unrounded. The rounding may result in a total disagreeing slightly with the total of the individual items as shown in the tables.
Rounded claims figures of less than 100 have been reported as ‘figures too small to be expressed’.
Numbers of fatal claims less than four have been expressed as ‘< 4’, and if only one cell in the table has been suppressed in this way, another cell has also been suppressed.
All percentages in the Hot Off the Press have been calculated from unrounded data.
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