- Normally an employee would be able to sue his employer for injuries that he sustained while working. The employer would need Employer’s Liability insurance for protection against such liability.
- The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act No 130 of 1993 (COID Act) has transferred that liability from the employer onto the government (it also places serious limits on how much an employee can claim).
- In other words, the COID Act has effectively eliminated the common law right of an employee to sue his employer for injury or diseases that arise in the work place as a result of an accident.
- The purpose of the Act is to: “To Provide for compensation for disablement caused by occupational injuries or diseases sustained or contracted by employees in the course of their employment, or for death resulting from such injuries or diseases; and to provide for matters connected therewith.”
- COID still applies if the employee was acting contrary to any law applicable to his employment or to any instruction of his employer, provided that he was acting in the course of business.
- Although most employees fall under the COID Act, there are exceptions such as:
- Domestic servants in private households
- Members of the armed forces or the police force
- The wilful misconduct of an employee unless that wilful misconduct causes serious disablement or death prejudicing a dependant who is completely financially dependant
- Where a worker is employed outside of South Africa for a continuous period of 12 months or longer
- Where a worker is ordinarily employed outside of South Africa and has an accident while temporarily working in South Africa
- Employees who refuse or wilfully neglect medical treatment
- The COID Act does not apply outside of South Africa, nor does it apply to the State including local, provincial and national state authorities (these entities are referred to as ‘individually liable employers’).
- The Act does not cover workers who are partially disabled for less than three days.