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Employers should have zero injuries target - Minister


Employers should have a “zero” target for workplace injuries and diseases as anything more will be ethically unacceptable, says Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant.


“Prevention before rehabilitation, and rehabilitation before compensation should be the logical sequence of interventions in the normal scheme of things, but we know though that in real life, mistakes, accidents, oversights, injuries can happen and workers do become ill even in the safest workplaces,” the Minister said.


She said the philosophy of the department’s Occupational Health and Safety Inspection seeks to inculcate a culture of zero workplace injuries and diseases.


Minister Oliphant was speaking at the official launch of the Rand Mutual Assurance (RMA) care facility in Welkom in the Free State on Monday.


The facility, built at a cost of R63 million, takes care of injured workers and ensures their beneficiaries and pensioners receive best quality care.


RMA is responsible for administering workers’ compensation for mining industry employees injured in the course and scope of their employment, in terms of Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA).


In 2013, the Labour Ministry granted an extension to RMA’s COIDA licence to expand its service offering to the iron, metal and steel industries, effective from March 2015.


Deodat Kritzinger, General Manager: Medical of RMA, said the RMA team was proud to see its vision of an own-care facility come to fruition, as this would enable RMA to provide better long-term treatment and care for seriously injured pensioners.


“It is our hope that the new Rand Mutual Care Facility in Welkom, which provides live-in care for RMA’s long-term custodial care pensioners as well as services such as wound care, rehabilitation, prosthetics and pro-active interventions for RMA beneficiaries, will serve as the ideal environment for them to grow and develop,” said Dr Kritzinger.


In terms of COIDA, a pensioner is defined as a person who has suffered permanent disablement of more than 30% in the course of their occupation.


The facility offers custodial long-term care for current and future RMA pensioners who are not able to care for themselves, pressure sore management through RMA’s preventative medical intervention programme, pro-active interventions to prevent deteriorating health and complications in pensioners with spinal cord injuries and amputations, prosthetics and orthotics and rehabilitation of injured workers.


Minister Oliphant said the department would keep on fine-tuning the law so that it is always equal to the challenges that workers face on a daily basis.


The department has commenced with a process to amend the Compensation of Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act in order to bring it in line with the current case law and some elements of international best practice.


“The new amendments seek to broaden the scope of coverage to include domestic workers; introduce a patient-centred approach in the delivery of health services by aggressively reducing the time patients have to wait to receive services and medication,” she said.

– SAnews.gov.za


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