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What's the right response from the employer when someone gets hurt at work?

by , 25 February 2015
Confronted with a variety of risk possibilities, a risk management plan has to look at many details to make sure that all situations are being covered by a specific and legal response.

In regarding this aspect, you should also take into consideration the equity employment rules.

Here's what you need to consider...

Discussing the perception prior the signing of the new occupational health and safety accord, NUMSA's has argued that the law provides "hopelessly inadequate payouts" to those injured at work.

As Lucky Moloi draws attention to on Labourguide.co.za, this prevents workers from taking employers to court for negligence. Instead, it means that it only fines employers small amounts for negligence.

It's not difficult to understand the important consequences of such a gap in the law: this allows and almost encourages employers to be careless about the safety at their workplace!

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It takes the responsibility out of their hands and lets them know that treating risk assessment like this is not the worst thing for the company and its workers since the only punishment is a fine.

However, the right way of acting is to take preventative measures. Nevertheless, in several aspects of today's economy and business development, the general behaviour promotes intervention rather than prevention.

Down below, you'll find an example from the CCMA of what should never happen when it comes to responding to an accident at work:

"... a worker who lost three fingers in an accident at work a few years ago was paid R3 330 for his amputated fingers.

But two years later, the condition deteriorated to such an extent that he could not use any of his fingers properly. An appeal was lodged with the Compensation Commissioner and R10 000 and small monthly pension was put forward. NUMSA felt that the Compensation Commission had done its bit, but according to NUMSA, the employer had gotten away unscathed. NUMSA also argued that the employers are highly subsidised.

At present, an employer pays a modest levy that bears little or no relation to the harm that his/her unsatisfactory health and safety practices cause. In turn a company is granted immunity against any claim that an injured employee might otherwise bring."

That's why prevention always works better than a later intervention! And placing workers' safety first should have top position in the list of your company's responsibilities!

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