We have now reached the final column dealing with the more important issues in the COID Act. The sections in this chapter are not something that you will deal with regularly; they are mainly procedures that the CC’s office is allowed to follow.
Section 94 allows the SA Fund to enter into arrangements with foreign states to control the payment of compensation of foreign citizens who were injured on duty in the RSA and subsequently returned to their own country. An example is an agreement which came into force between a neighbouring state and the RSA that the compensation due to the injured will be paid to the state and not directly to the beneficiary with the idea that they will trace the employee and pay the compensation awarded by the SA Fund. Yes you have guessed the outcome spot-on. Only a small percentage of the amount paid over was paid to the beneficiary. The balance remained in the state coffers, or did it? The arrangement was immediately cancelled and I seriously doubt if any arrangement with foreign states still exist.
Section 96 is a secrecy stipulation to protect employers and employees. The exception is amongst other if it is used for the administration of justice. Section 97 lists the matters for which Regulations may be made to administer the Act. The prescribed forms are contained in the Regulations, forms such as the Return of Earnings and the Report of an Accident. Please note sections 98 and 99 which deal with false statements and penalties respectively.
Although the above sections are not that important the Schedules right at the end of the Act are indeed important to study and understand as an administrator of workers’ compensation. These Schedules are the following:
- Schedule 2 List of percentages awarded for certain forms of permanent disablement
- Schedule 3 List of Occupational Diseases
- Schedule 4 Manner of Calculation Compensation
Schedule 2 List of percentages awarded for certain forms of permanent disablement
Against these percentages of permanent disablement an employee cannot object and request a review of the percentage permanent disablement awarded. For example, should an employee lose a hand at the wrist, 50% disablement is awarded to calculate the compensation according to the prescriptions of schedule 4. You cannot object to that decision as the disablement is prescribed. There is no discretion involved from the CC’s side; the extent of disablement is cast in stone (read in the schedule).
If an injury leads to permanent disablement that is not listed the in the schedule, then the CC’s office will exercise discretion as to what the percentage should be. In this respect they have guidelines from sources such as the Orthopaedic Associations and publications internationally accepted. In this regard permanent disablement resulting from back injuries comes to mind. If the affected employee is not satisfied with the decision he or she may lodge a formal objection in terms of section 91 resulting in most cases in a formal hearing by a tribunal set up in accordance with the provisions of the COIDA. Can you see why administrators of worker’s compensation should be familiar with this Schedule 2?
Schedule 3 List of Occupational Diseases
This schedule is divided into two columns namely the name of the disease and the type of work associated with the disease. This is a difficult schedule to work with and that is why the administrator should be familiar with the content thereof. Compensation for occupational diseases is an aspect of worker’s compensation which is neglected in the RSA due to a lack of knowledge, not only amongst employers but even in the medical profession. Training by experts is the answer because the layman cannot pick up the required knowledge just by studying the schedule on his own.
Schedule 4 Manner of Calculation Compensation
This is a crucial schedule for everyone to study when it comes to determining. If you are not familiar with the content thereof I can categorically state that you have no idea of how worker’s compensation operates. It is a must that you study it annually. I say annually because it is amended every year and usually published in the first three months of the year as a notice in the Government Gazette. It is your duty as employers to obtain it and study the content thereof.
We have come to the end of the year and the end of an overview discussion of the COID Act. I sincerely hope that I have pointed you in the direction of the important aspects of the Act.
Till next month