With the ongoing global health crisis claiming lives and ravaging bottom lines, it has become essential for individuals to ensure that they are covered for any work-related injury or illness that may arise.
Scores of people have returned to work amid this pandemic and employees are at risk of contracting COVID-19 or any illness. Will they be compensated in the event of work-related injury or illness, while performing work within the cause and scope of their employment?
The answer is yes. Rand Mutual Assurance (RMA) is leading the way in providing cover for injured workers or workers who have contracted occupational diseases while in the workplace, in the mining and metal industries. Through the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases (COID) Act, employees are further provided with cover for medical treatment.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 places an obligation on the employer to maintain a working environment that is safe. The employer must ensure that the workplace is safe and free from any risk to its employees’ health and safety as far as it is reasonably practicable. Therefore the employer is obliged to manage the risk of COVID-19 infection in the workplace.
It is recommended that an employer supply a healthy working environment by providing a workplace that is clean and hygienic, promoting regular handwashing and good respiratory hygiene, and keeping employees informed on developments related to COVID-19.
Employers are obliged to report all suspected occupationally acquired COVID-19 cases to RMA in the prescribed format.
The COID Act is a South African legislation that helps employers take care of their employees. The act dictates that workers who are injured on duty or contract occupational diseases can claim compensation for work-related accidents and illnesses. The COVID-19 pandemic is a case in point of the COID Act coming into play to help companies and their employees.
Since most companies already hold COID cover, occupationally acquired COVID-19 is covered. In fact, employees who are proven to have acquired COVID-19 in the course of their employment can receive payment for temporary total disablement, permanent disablement, death and/or for quarantine site costs. Each case is assessed on its merit.
“It is crucial that our nation has legislation in place to protect its workers at all times. Legislation dictates that all employers are compelled to pay a premium in case of injuries or diseases that occur in the workplace, at no cost to the employee. After all, in a professional and regulated environment, health and safety is the responsibility of employers. Ours is to ensure that beneficiaries and their families receive the care and compensation they are entitled to,” says Mandla Shezi, RMA Group CEO.
This compensation goes a long way in ensuring that employees and their families have peace of mind financially, during difficult times.
“Think of the COID Act as a safety net in an effective and comprehensive health and safety strategy. Particularly, as we battle with the COVID-19 pandemic, employers need comprehensive cover for their employees if they contract COVID-19 in the workplace. The COID Act has been a great help to many employees who have had exposure to the virus.
“Following the implementation of Compensation for Occupationally Acquired Novel Coronavirus Diseases (COVID-19), RMA has closed and accepted liability for over 5 000 COVID-19 claims, assisting many of our clients’ employees during this trying time. To date, over R36-million has been paid out to employees who had exposure to COVID-19 at the workplace,” says Shezi.
Moreover, RMA has developed technologies to help provide better long-term care for critically injured beneficiaries such as its mobile prosthetic clinic, funeral, and top-up insurance plans to add value to its members’ quality of life.
RMA is committed to providing services that support the underwriting and administration of both the COID and insurance benefits.