Every worker deserves a safe work environment. Unfortunately, accidents happen. Workers who are injured on the job in South Africa,
will be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and potential disability.
Who Is Eligible For Compensation?
The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act 130 of 1993 (COIDA) provides extensive coverage to most employees, including casual employees, domestic workers, temporary employment services employees and, in the case of a deceased employee, his / her dependants.
Independent contractors and self-employed workers are, however, excluded.
Benefits Payable To Injured Employees
The Compensation Fund benefits are paid to three categories of claimants:
- employees who suffer a temporary disability (maximum period of 24 months);
- employees who are permanently disabled (a lump sum is paid if the percentage disability is 30% or less; or otherwise a regular (pension payment) is made); and
- the dependants of employees who die as a result of injuries sustained in work-related accidents or as a result of an occupational disease.
Reasonable medical aid expenses arising out of an injury on duty, are payable for a period of two years,
or longer if further medical treatment will reduce the extent of the disablement.
Duties Of Employers
- registration with the Compensation Commissioner;
- submitting annual wage returns;
- paying assessments; and
- reporting all accidents and occupational diseases to the Compensation Commissioner.
Employers must pay employees who are temporarily disabled their compensation for the first three months of absence from work (which will be reimbursed by the Fund).
The failure to perform any of these functions is a criminal offence and extensive penalties may be imposed in cases of non-compliance.
Occupational Health And Safety:
Below are some tips for ensuring the health and safety of employees:
- Prevention is key: Most workplace injuries and illnesses are preventable. Understanding common hazards in one’s industry and actively participating in safety training are crucial safeguards. If safety concerns are identified in the workplace, either through the employees themselves, the health and safety representatives, a third party or a member of management, they should be raised immediately.
- Employer responsibility: Employers should familiarise themselves with occupational health and safety regulations in their jurisdiction to understand their specific responsibilities.
- Building a safe culture: Fostering a safety-conscious workplace culture benefits everyone. Encouraging open communication about safety concerns, actively participating in safety initiatives, and making unsafe practice resolution a priority will ensure that everyone plays a role in creating a healthier and safer work environment.