Picture this… Joe works in an office as a filing clerk. He's been with the company for a year and the doctor recently booked him off for severe backache. It's a week later and Joe says he is on medication and the source of his back pain is his work chair.
If Joe works for you, should you report and claim for his injury from the Workman's Compensation Commissioner?
Read on to see what our Health and safety Advisor helpdesk expert, Wilna Louw-Malan
has to say…
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Joe's back is sore… Can we claim from COID?
Our expert, Wilna Louw-Malan
says this is an ergonomic related issue and happens very often in the office environment. You should evaluate the type of chair as well as the height relation between the chair and his desk/work table. Joe's chair should offer good lower back support and allow him to sit up straight in the chair. For example when Joe sits at his desk, the height of the desk should be about elbow height. The back support from the chair will help prevent lower backache and the right desk height will help prevent shoulder and neck muscle spasms. For more on ergonomics, see chapter W02/005 on Workplace Facilities in your Health and Safety Advisor.
So, this isn't an Injury-On-Duty as there was no injury. And it's also not an occupational disease as there's no permanent skeletal damage from sitting on a chair long term. You can't claim this from COID.
But, there's a scenario where you and Joe could claim from COID for his ergonomic related back issue. Read on to find out…
When can you claim from COID for backache?
If Joe's backache persists and he goes to see a specialist. And he says that Joe actually has a musculo-skeletal related disease, or a disability from long-term bad sitting position and body posture… You and Joe could report the disease to COID as an occupational disease and claim.
So, from the two scenarios you now get an idea of when you can and can't claim from COID for an ergonomic 'injury'. COID is one of the more complex areas of health and safety to understand and yet one of the most crucial.
Make sure you register your business for COID with the Compensation Commissioner, and make sure you know when you can and can't claim. Go to chapter I02: Incidents in your Health and Safety Advisor
for all you need to know about registering for COID, reporting incidents and claiming.
Senior Product Manager: Health and Safety
Remember to include your COID registration and contributions in your Health and Safety Budget. Click here to see the other 20 items you legally need to include in your Health and Safety budget.