COMPENSATION COMMISSIONER STATISTICS

During the 2010/2011 financial year the compensation commissioner paid out claims to the value of R2.7 billion. The commissioner currently has a back-log of 200 000 claims due to the high volumes of claims submitted by employees that suffered injury due to an occupational incident or poor health due the contraction of an occupational disease.

A. SUPPORTING CASE LAW

1. Employee Legal Remedies

Mankayi v Anglogold Ashanti Ltd (CCT 40/10) [2011] ZACC 3
The Constitutional Court ruled that an employee has the right to claim compensation from the Compensation Commissioner and to submit a claim in civil court against the employer for additional compensation in terms of common law. Section 35 of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act 130 of 1993 no longer limits an employees right to legal regress. Mr Mankayi was awarded an additional R2.6 million in compensation to be paid by the employer.

2. Third Party Legal Remedy

Hirsch Appliance Specialists v Shield Security Natal (Pty) ltd
The employer was held liable for the criminal actions of its employee where such actions caused damage to a third party. Legal regress vests under the Law of Torts.

B. OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY ACT OF 85 OF 1993

Compliance to health & safety requirements is stipulated in legislation. Whether one is in agreement with the many requirements of the Act mentioned supra or not, it remains the law of the country to which we have to comply and answer.

Several sections of the Act highlight this:

16 (1) Every chief executive officer shall as far as is reasonably practicable ensure that the duties of his employer as contemplated in this Act are properly discharged.

16 (2) Without derogating from his responsibility or liability in terms of subsection (1), a chief executive officer may assign any duty contemplated in the said subsection, to any person under his control, which person shall act subject to the control and directions of the chief executive officer.

8 (2) Without derogating from the generality of an employer’s duties under subsection (1), the matters to which those duties refer include in particular –
(e) providing such information, instructions, training and supervision as may be necessary
to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his
employees;
(g) taking all necessary measures to ensure that the requirements of this Act are complied
with by every person in his employment or on premises under his control where plant
or machinery is used;
(j) causing all employees to be informed regarding the scope of their authority as
Contemplated in section 37 (1) (b) (strict liability).

How does an employer show evidence of compliance to the above mentioned legal requirements?

Through training, training, training and some more training…………….!