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COIDA isn't there just to protect your employees! It could save your company from a million rand lawsuit

by , 05 December 2014
You know COIDA exists to protect your employees. It gives them access to compensation if they have any kind of workplace accident or injury. It works like a national workers' insurance for injury and disease cover.

But what you may not realise is that COIDA offers you valuable protection too.

There's a clause in the COIDA that protects your company against massive million rand lawsuits.

Read on to find out how so you can make full use of this important protection...

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Thanks to COIDA, your employees can't sue your company for work-related accidents

The COID Compliance Guide explains that your employee or his dependants can't sue your company for any work injury or disease that causes disability or death. This is according to COIDA Section 35.
COID gives your employee the compensation he would get if he sued your company. So if he got compensation and sued your company, he'd get double the money he should. 
You have to enforce this law. If your employee has an injury on duty (IOD), remind him he can claim from COID but your company has no legal liability to give him compensation. 
But be careful, COIDA doesn't completely protect you from lawsuits. 
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Do you want to be fined, jailed or have a criminal record for life?
If an accident occurs in your workplace, and the person dies, you could be charged with culpable homicide, charged penalties of R100 000 or 2 years in jail! The CEO or Owner of a company is personally accountable for health and safety at work. 

Here's when COIDA doesn't protect your company against injury lawsuits

If a visitor has an accident on your property, such as your insurance rep for example, you may be responsible for his compensation. After all, COIDA stops your employees suing you, but it says nothing about someone else.
If someone else has an accident in your workplace, the other company can take the following actions (COIDA Section 36.1):
They can claim compensation and take legal action against you for damages in a court of law.
The Director General or their employer can take legal action in a court of law against your company to recover the compensation paid.
The court will look at how much compensation they already got (COIDA Section 36.2). The court won't award damages that are more than what they've already received (COIDA Section 36.3).
The compensation will cover medical cost they paid. It can also cover any pension they get (the Director General will decide on the value). If the payment's a pension, it can be a lump sum or periodic payments (COIDA Section 36.4).
The reason the other company can sue you is because it loses productivity because of the accident. In this case, they shouldn't have to cover the cost of compensation as well.
So be very aware of the possible hazards in your company. Especially if you often have outside reps or clients come onto your premises. 
COIDA won't protect you against these types of lawsuits, so you have to do it yourself. But at least it will protect you against million rand legal battles with your own employees.
For more information on claiming from COID, check out the COID Compliance Guide

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