20 March 2003
The Department of Labour says it will not hesitate to prosecute employers who do not provide the department with information relating to workplace accidents.
The department has been running a Sizakala (“get help”) Campaign aimed at educating workers about their rights at the workplace in case of injuries, the procedures to follow when claiming from the Compensation Fund, and general occupational health and safety issues in the workplace.
The Compensation Fund provides compensation for disability caused by injuries or diseases sustained or contracted by employees in the course of their employment, or for death resulting from such injuries or diseases.
According to the department, all employers are required to register with and pay annual fees to the Fund, whose revenue consists mainly of annual fees paid by registered employers on the basis of a fixed rate or a percentage of the annual earnings of their employees.
“To claim from the fund, an employee should inform his or her employer immediately after the injury has occurred”, says the department. The employer then fills in a form reporting the injury and sends it to the labour department, which sends back a post card with a claim number.
“The employer is liable for the payment of compensation for the first three months from the date of the occupational injury, which will then be reimbursed by the Compensation Commissioner.
“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.”
“Workers when injured should find out from their employers whether their cases have been reported to the department”, said Compensation Commissioner Bongi Magojo.
Since the beginning of the Sizakala Campaign more than a year ago, Compensation Commission officials have visited Klerksdorp in the North West, Venda in Limpopo, and Welkom in the Free State. In March 2003 the campaign visited Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal.
For more information, dial the Fund’s toll-free number: 0800 005 392 / 3