Workmens Compensation Claims

The aim of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act is 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 (such as medical expenses etc.)

The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act applies to:

  • All employers; and
  • Casual and full-time workers who, as a result of a workplace accident or work-related disease:
  • Are injured, disabled, or killed; or
  • Become ill.

This excludes:

  • Workers who are totally or partially disabled for less than 3 days;
  • Domestic workers;
  • Anyone receiving military training;
  • Members of the South African National Defence Force, or the South African Police Service;
  • Any worker guilty of willful misconduct, unless they are seriously disabled or killed;
  • Anyone employed outside the RSA for 12 or more continuous months; and
  • Workers working mainly outside the RSA and only temporarily employed in the RSA.

If you believe that your injury or illness was sustained while you were on duty, you are unlikely to have a claim against your employer, but will be able to claim from the Compensation Commissioner (for COIDA.) The Department of Labour of the South African Government is responsible for administering the Compensation of injured workers in terms of COIDA.

Although your employer is expected to report the incident and assist you with such a claim, it is possible to submit a claim personally.

When a worker becomes ill or injured on duty, the employer needs to notify the Department of Labour of the event. For this purpose the Employers Report of an Occupational Disease Form is to be completed.

The employee may then fill in follow up forms, and make a statement to start the claim process from the Compensation Commissioner. The employee form, 'notice of an Occupational Disease and Claim for Compensation.

There are several employers who elect to self-insure such as the South African Police Services and many of the Mining companies. You should enquire as to the position from your employer.

Compensation Payouts
According to theNUMSAwebsite:

Temporary disability

  • Compensation for temporary disability is only paid if the workplace injury or disease lasts for three or more days.
  • From the fourth day, Coida pays at a rate of 75% of his / her normal pay.
  • For the first three months following the injury, the employer is responsible for the payment of temporary disability, being re-imbursed by the CCO.
  • Coida pays direct to the worker after three months.
  • Payment for temporary disability will occur for 12 months, and only under special circumstances extended to 24 months.
  • When the worker is off work (temporary total disability), then he/she will receive 75% of his/her income for the time off work.

Death due to workplace injury or disease

  • Compensation is paid to workers' spouse = lump sum of 2x the pension that he would have received if s/he had been 100% disabled (i.e. 2 x 75% of the monthly salary).
  • Compensation paid to each dependent of 20-40 % of the pension the worker would have received had s/he been 100% disabled. Note that the sum of the pensions paid to all the dependents

Permanent disability
Following assessment of disability according to the prescribed schedules in the Act, workers will receive after 12 (or 24) months, compensation for permanent disability, calculated as follows:

  • Less than 30% disability = (%disability/30) x 15x monthly income. (single lump sum payment)
  • 30% disability = 15 x monthly income. (Person receives a single lump sum payment)
  • 31 – 100% disability = (0.75 x monthly income) x % disability (monthly pension until death of worker)

If you are dissatisfied about the degree of permanent disability awarded to you, you may object. Cannot be more than the pension the worker would have received had s/he been 100% disabled.

Things to watch out for?
A company pays an annual levy to COIDA based on the number of workers it employs and their earnings. However, if a company's accident record is very low at the end of the year, COIDA gives the company a discount for the next year.

But if the company's accident record is very high in one year, COIDA will make the company pay extra the next year.

Because of this, often companies encourage safety representatives not to report 'minor' accidents because their increased accident record will increase their COIDA payments. This can be bad for injured workers whose injuries are declared 'minor' and so are not reported to COIDA, but who years later develop aches, pains and complications from the earlier injury. Because the earlier accident was not reported to COIDA, the later complications cannot be linked to a work-related injury.

Are you making sure that every accident is reported that:
1. Has required medical treatment AND/OR
2. Has resulted in the worker being off work for more than 3 days?

Contact Details

Phone Phone: (012) 809 1588
Fax Fax: (0) 86 603 0097
WWW Link Website:
Address: Block 2, Lombardy Business Park,
Cnr Cole & Graham Rds, Lombardy , Pretoria