Onions are dangerous: 3000 claims to ACC

Everyone knows the dangers around cooking with onions, but it turns out it's not just cutting them that can bring tears to your eyes.

Retail giant Bunnings has been mocked for introducing a new safety rule requiring BBQ fundraisers to place the sausage on top of the onions to prevent them failing to the ground posing a slip hazard.

ACC figures suggest Bunnings has good cause to increase the safety margin for BBQ snarlers.

New Zealanders have been lacerated or punctured, suffered soft tissue damage, and even slipped over, all in the name of a good onion.

Figures released to The New Zealand Herald by ACC show there have been 3001 onion-related claims from January 1, 2013, until November 14, 2018.

On the other hand, there have only been 25 sausage-sizzle related injuries for the same five-year period.

ACC was able to provide the figures using a free-text search for keywords recorded in accidents related to onions and sausage sizzles.

However there can be considerable variability in the detail provided by claimants, and for this reason, the data cannot be presented as definitive.

Both onions and sausage sizzles have been hotly debated this week following the announcement Bunnings would change its rules around its snags.

New guidelines mean the fried onion can no longer be placed on top of the sausage, instead it now has to be on the bottom.

The safety rule is designed to prevent chopped onions falling out and posing a slip hazard, all because one Australian man slipped over on one.

Three years ago, a Queensland farmer named Trevor slipped on an onion while entering Gympie Bunnings to buy a weed eater, ABC reports.

"I walked into store and it happened so fast, I had leather boots on, I went down on my back," the farmer said.

Trevor was compensated by Bunnings and signed a non-disclosure agreement.

The change - which has already taken hold in Australia - tackles the apparent dangers posed by a few bits of fried onion falling on to the ground.

While the figures from ACC does not say specifically if someone slipped on an onion during a sausage-sizzle related mishap, there have been 21 claims related to people slipping on the vegetable since January 1, 2013.

The worst years for the incident were in 2015 and 2017 when there were five claim counts in each. This year, there have been less than four.

Sausage-sizzles have also been a danger zone for injuries, ACC having received a total of 25 claims for related injuries since 2013.

Broken down by primary injuries, 10 claims were filed under soft tissue injuries, seven claims under laceration or puncture, and eight were categorised as "other".

The worst year for all onion-related claims was 2015 when a total of 550 claims were made to ACC.

During the year, 447 of them were categorised as laceration or puncture injuries, 88 as soft tissue, 10 as other and five were not stated.

This year to date there have been 446 claims made to ACC for onion-related injuries, again, most of them coming from laceration or puncture injuries.

Some 360 claims have been made for laceration injuries, 66 for soft tissue injuries, five for foreign body in orifice/eye, seven for other and eight were not stated.

ACC does not provide exact figures where there are fewer than four claims for a particular injury to avoid inadvertently identifying a client.

As a no-fault scheme, ACC relies on information recorded by claimants on a claim form following an injury.

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