My employee got injured, what is my obligation as employer?

My employee got injured, what is my obligation as employer?

When the Department of Labour comes knocking on your door one of the first things they will request is proof that you are registered with the Compensation Fund.

Many employers neglect to register their company with the Compensation Fund. The purpose of this article is to make employers aware of what COIDA is; why it is important for employers to register for COIDA and what the process is that employers need to follow to register their company with the Compensation Fund. We will furthermore also discuss when, who and how exactly can you claim from the Compensation Fund.

The Compensation Fund provides compensation for employees who get hurt at work, or sick from diseases contracted at work, or for death as a result of these injuries or diseases.

The Compensation Fund is covered by the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) and the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Act. The Compensation Commissioner is appointed to administer the Fund and approve claims of employees. Where an employee is entitled to receive compensation from the Compensation Fund, the Fund, and not the employer, will pay the employee

What is COIDA and what is the purpose of COIDA?

Through the requirements of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (Act 130 of 1993) a process was implemented by Government which provides for the payment of compensation.

The aim of the COID Act is to provide for compensation in the case of disablement caused by occupational injuries and diseases, sustained or contracted by employees in the course of their employment, or death resulting from such injuries and diseases; and to provide for matters connected therewith.

Can I cut back on my budget by not registering my company with the Compensation Fund?

It is definitely not recommended that this is an area in your budget to cut back on, as it is against the law.

Section 1 of the COID Act states that if a worker gets injured on duty or obtains an occupational disease; they can claim compensation for temporary or permanent disablement. Furthermore if an employee dies as a result of an injury on duty, their dependants will also be entitled to claim compensation. However if employers registered their employees they are protected against civil claims in this regard. The COIDA basically prevents employees covered by the Act from suing their employers for damages in terms of common law.

I think this will bring it into perspective for employers who feel this is an unnecessary expense.

How do I register with the Compensation Fund?

Employers who have more than one employee must register with the Commissioner. Registration is done by completing the W.As.2 form and submitting the completed form to the Department of Labour. Employers can download the forms on the Department of Labour’s website. During registration copies of the following documentation should be included, a) the registration certificate from the Register of Companies if they are a company or closed corporation, b) or their ID document, if they are sole owners of the business.

In the case where the employer is registered with the Compensation Fund and up to date with the payments it is also very important to understand the process of claiming from the Compensation Fund.

If an employee incurs an accident or is diagnosed with a work-related disease, the employee or their dependents will be entitled to compensation by COIDA.

It is important that you and your employee are fully informed to guarantee a successful and efficient claiming process.

Who can claim from The Compensation Fund?

The Compensation Fund covers workers who were hurt in an accident whilst they were busy with their work, contracted a disease through their work or died from a workplace accident or occupational disease.

An employee can claim if they were injured or contracted a disease whilst working on a permanent basis or as a casual, whilst in training or completing an apprenticeship. There are certain categories of employees who cannot claim from the fund.

An employee cannot claim if they are:

  • A domestic worker employed at a private home;
  • A member of the South African National Defence Force (there is a separate fund);
  • A member of the South African Police Services (there is a separate fund);
  • An employee who is not employed by the employer;
  • An employee who works outside South Africa for more than 12 months at a time.It is very important to understand that all claims will only be paid if they are submitted in the correct way and within the proper time frame.

Claims will not be paid under the following circumstances:

  • If the claim is made more than 12 months after the accident or death, or after the disease is diagnosed;
  • If an employee is off work for 3 days or less;
  • If the accident resulted from the employee’s own wrong doing (Unless the worker is seriously disabled or dies in the accident, then the Fund will still pay compensation);
  • If an employee unreasonably refuses to undergo medical treatment.

What steps should employers follow to claim correctly from the Compensation Fund?

  1. The employee should immediately inform his/her supervisor or employer(verbally or in writing) of the accident or disease that occurred or that they encountered. It is suggested that employers should take notes of anyone who witnessed the accident.
  2. The WCL 2 form should be completed. This form is the Notice of Accident and Claim for Compensation.
  3. The employer must then report the accidentto the Compensation Commissioner, by submitting the WCL 3 Form – Employer’s Report of Accident, at the Department of Labour.
  4. The employer must report a workplace injury within 7 days or in cases of occupational diseases within 14 days of finding out that the worker has an occupational disease.
  5. The employee should ensure that all the details on the form are correct.
  6. Within 14 days of seeing the employee, the doctor must fill in the WCL4 formstating how serious the injury was and how long the worker is likely to be booked off from work. This form will be sent to the employer who in return should submit it to the Commissioner at the Department of Labour.
  7. If the injury will take a long time to heal, the doctor must send a progress report(WCL 5) to the Department of Labour every month until the condition is fully stabilised.
  8. Finally the doctor must submit a final doctor’s report(WCL5) stating either that the worker is fit to go back to work or that the employee is permanently disabled. The doctor must send this form to the employer who needs to submit it to the Compensation Commissioner to ensure the progress on the claim.
  9. When the employee goes back to work, the employer must send a resumption report(WCL6) to the Department of Labour stating when the employee went back to work.
  10. Lastly employers and employees are encouraged to keep copies of all the forms.

In conclusion all employers are obligated to register with a carrier which is either the Compensation Commissioner of the Compensation Fund or a designated mutual registered association. The onus is on the employer to ensure that the details remain up to date. Lastly employers should bear in mind that failure to register for Compensation Fund constitutes as an offence and can cause you serious unnecessary headaches and unfortunately no claim can be put in for that.

Should you have any enquiries, please feel free to contact one of our consultants.

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