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Don't forget, your employees have a right to compensation for occupational diseases

by , 24 March 2015
Before we discuss the compensation aspects, let's first clarify what counts as an occupational disease. You should know that, as stated by the current legislation, it represents any listed disease or an adverse health effect caused by exposure in the workplace.

This also includes any adverse health effect which a doctor believes was caused by the employee's work (Section 25 of OHSA). These must be reported to the Commissioner on form W.CL. 1.

Now that you understand what this entails, here's what you should know about the compensation you owe to your employee...

Keep in mind that your employee has a right to be compensated if they've developed an occupational disease within the following criteria (Section 65.1 of COIDA):

• Your employee contracted a disease listed in the first column of Schedule 3 of COIDA

• The disease was contracted during the course of employment; and

• Your employee contracted a disease that isn't listed in the first column of Schedule 3, but the disease was contracted employed by your company.

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Here's how to report an occupational disease to COID

• Download the W.CL. 1 form from here

• Complete the form. Ask the Commissioner, a medical practitioner or nurse who examined the employee to assist you; and

• Submit the form to COID within 14 days of finding out about the disease. If you think your employee didn't contract the disease at your workplace, you still have to report it (Section 68.2 of COIDA).

Pay attention to the fact that if you don't report the disease you're guilty of a criminal offence (Section 68.3 of COIDA). You'll be prosecuted and could receive a fine, jail term or both depending on the severity of the offence.

Note that your employee's right to compensation may lapse if any disease isn't brought to the attention of the Commissioner, employer or mutual association within 12 months from the start of the disease (Section 65.4 of COIDA).

 The start of the disease is the date the medical practitioner first diagnosed your employee with the occupational disease.

The Director General may date the start of the disease at an earlier date, depending on which one is more favourable to your employee (Section 65.5 of COIDA).

If your employee contracted an occupational disease due to any work mentioned in Schedule 3, the Commissioner will presume that the disease was contracted out of the work that was being done during the course of his employment (Section 66 of COIDA).

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