In August on Musina FM, Portia interviewed the Messina Legal Advice Paralegals, Jacob and Phale about COIDA. COIDA stands for ‘Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases’ a government body that compensates workers who have been injured at work.
This week on the Rock FM, the Hennenman Victim Empowerment Forum discussed the topic and Mantua, the paralegal interviewed a worker who got injured at work and battled to claim since he had no support from the employer. Tseko Photsane was working as a general worker and on the 18th January, he got injured on his arm. He was using a machine that he was never trained to use; therefore, Tseko had no idea on how to use the machine. He said there were no instructions and safety measures except that the employer wanted work done. His injury required an operation to be done on him. The hospital requested a form called ‘injury on duty’ to be completed and it was submitted to the hospital. He was thinking that if a person gets injured at work, the employer takes the responsibility and claims for the employee. Unfortunately, it never happened that way with Tseko.
In April, while Tseko was recovering at home, he heard that the company he got injured at is closing down and he is getting retrenched. He received his last payment on the 12th of May. The employer never phoned, followed up or played any role to show support to Tseko’s injury or finding out about the operation. He’s sitting at home, injured, unemployed and he feels that if he was not injured, he could still get a job and takes care of his children. Hospital bills for his arm operation are following him.
Mantua asked Tseko an important question about Health and Safety Committee at the workplace:
The Health and Safety Committee at Tseko’s workplace was not really active, they only did a course and received their certificates.
The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act gives workers the right to claim compensation if they were injured work. Here are the steps from the department of labour to follow when lodging a claim.
Step 1: Fill in the form –Workers must report their injury or disease to their supervisor or employer immediately. Their employer must report it to the Compensation Fund and send in the necessary forms.
Step 2: Get forms from the doctor – Workers must get the W.Cl.2 or W.Cl.1 (workers claim injury forms) form from their employer and take it to the doctor when they go for a visit. After the doctor has filled in the form, workers must take it back to their employer. Workers must take any other forms the doctor gives them to their employer.
Step 3: Keep in touch with the employer – Workers must let their employers know when their address change and keep in touch with them. Workers’ money will be sent to their employer’s address, so it is important that their employer can find them. If employers do not send in the forms or the claims takes long, workers must contact the nearest labour centre and report it.
Here are the contact details for COIDA offices:
Head Office – Cape Town Tel: 021 975 2694
Gauteng Province: Tel: 012 667 5475
Northern Cape: Tel: 053 832 1877
For more information, please visit www.labour.gov.za