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Did your employee suffer an injury during a site visit in another country? Here's how COIDA treats this situation

by , 05 January 2015
Let's assume you have construction or manufacturing sites all over Africa. You send out inspectors and representatives from your head office twice a year to make sure everything is running smoothly.

While on site in Namibia, a hammer falls off a shelf and hits your employee on the head.

The accident seriously injuries him and he has to have an emergency operation.

But now you're wondering if COID will still give him compensation even though he wasn't in SA when he had his accident.

Today I'm going to tell you how to deal with this situation so you can make sure your employee gets the compensation he needs...


Here's what COIDA says about your employee's accident in another country

If your employee has an injury while working outside SA, he can still get compensation. This is the same as if the accident happened in South Africa. But this only applies if your business is in SA and your employee normally works here (COIDA Section 23.1a). 
The Commissioner will pay the compensation depending on how much your employee earns when he works in South Africa (COIDA Section 23.1b).
If your employee lives in SA but has an injury elsewhere, he's entitled to compensation as if the accident happened in South Africa (COIDA Section 23.2).
This isn't always the case though. Here's when your employee won't get compensation from COID.
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Here's when COID won't give your employee compensation for an injury in a foreign country

If you send your employee to work in another country for 12 months, he can't get compensation. This is unless you have an agreement with the Commissioner and your employee. This agreement must be in writing (COIDA Section 23.1c).
And if you're not a SA business and your employee has an injury here, he can't get compensation.  Again, the only exception is if you have an agreement with the Commissioner. You also need to pay the tariff assessments for your injured employee (COIDA Section 23.3a).
But, if your employee works in SA for more than 12 months, he can get compensation. This would work the same as if your business was in SA (COIDA Section 23.3b).
If your employee has an injury in this circumstance, he can get compensation from COID. This is according to COIDA and similar laws in other countries. 
Just remember, you must write to the Commissioner to find out how the law affects your employee's specific injury claim (COIDA Section 23.4).
As you can see, the amount of time your employee spends in a country and where your company is affects his compensation. 
Before you send any employee to another country to do work for 12 months or more, find out about their laws on injury compensation, just in case. 
Find out more about your employee's compensation entitlements in the COID Compliance Guide

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