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Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, 1993 (Act No. 130 of 1993)

Notices

Directive on Compensation for Workplace-acquired Novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19)

Schedule A : Circular No. CF/06/2020

3. Diagnosis

 

3.1. Workplace-acquired COVID-19 diagnosis relies on:
(a) Assessment of the inherent risk posed by various categories of work and occupations; or
(b) Exposure to a known source of COVID-19 at the workplace; or
(c) An approved official trip and travel history to countries and/or areas of high risk for COVID-19 on work assignment; and
(d) A reliable diagnosis of COVID-19 as per the WHO guidelines; and
(e) A chronological sequence between exposure at the workplace and the development of symptoms.

 

3.2. COVID-19 can be reliably diagnosed by:
(a) Sputum, nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swab specimen collected from all patients at admission tested by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for SARS-Cov-2 RNA; or
(b) Any other diagnostic test approved by the Department of Health.

 

3.3. Occupational Risk Stratification

In terms of Section 45 of the COID Act, the Compensation Fund is obliged to consider all claims submitted for compensation and adjudicate all claims to determine liability. In carrying out this task, the Fund peruses all information submitted to make an objective decision. In addition to exposure and clinical history, the Fund also considers the inherent risk posed by various categories of work and occupations. For the purpose of this Directive, various occupations shall be categorized as follows:

3.3.1. Very high exposure risk occupations

Very high exposure risk occupations are those with high potential for exposure to known or suspected sources of COVID-19 during specific medical, post mortem, or laboratory procedures. Employees in this category include:

(a) Healthcare employees (e.g. doctors, nurses, dentists, paramedics, emergency medical technicians) performing  aerosol-generating procedures (e.g. intubation, cough induction procedures, bronchoscopies, some dental procedures  and exams, or invasive specimen collection) on known or suspected COVID-19 patients.
(b) Healthcare or laboratory employees collecting or handling specimens  from known or suspected COVID-19 patients (e.g. manipulating cultures from known or suspected COVID-19 patients).
(c) Healthcare employees conducting cardio-respiratory function testing (e.g. spirometry, exercise electrocardiogram, respiratory physiotherapy etc.)
(d) Morgue employees performing autopsies, which generally involve aerosol-generating procedures, on the bodies of people who are known to have, or suspected of having, COVID-19 at the time of their death.
3.3.2. High exposure risk occupations

High exposure risk occupations are those with high potential for exposure to known or suspected patients with COVID-19 disease. Employees in this category include:

(a) Healthcare delivery and support employees (e.g. doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff who must enter patients rooms) exposed to known or suspected COVID-19 patients.

(Note: when such employees perform aerosol-generating procedures, their exposure risk level becomes very high).

(b) Medical transport employees (e.g. ambulance personnel and porters) moving known or suspected COVID-19 patients in enclosed vehicles.
(c) Mortuary employees involved in preparing (e.g. for burial or cremation) the bodies of people who are known to have, or suspected of having COVID-19 at the time of their death.
3.3.3. Medium exposure risk occupations

Medium exposure risk occupations include those that require frequent and/or close contact (i.e. within 1.5 metres) with people who may be infected with SARS-CoV-2, but who are not known or suspected COVID-19 patients. In areas without ongoing community transmission, employees in this risk group may have frequent contact with travellers who may return from international locations with widespread COVID-19 transmission.

 

In areas where there is ongoing community transmission, employees in this category may have contact with the general public (e.g. in schools, high-population-density work environments, such as labour centres, consulting rooms, point of entry personnel and some high-volume retail settings).

3.3.4. Low exposure risk occupations

Lower exposure risk occupations are those that do not require contact with people known to be or suspected of being infected with COVID-19, nor  frequent close contact (i.e. within 1.5 metres) with the general public. Employees in this category have minimal occupational contact with the public and other fellow employees.

3.3.5. The Medical Officers in the Compensation Fund will determine whether the diagnosis of COVID-19 was made according to acceptable medical standards.
3.3.6. The above categorization of occupations serves only as a guide to assist employers in assessing the risk of employees contracting COVID-19 at the workplace. All employees, regardless of occupation, are entitled to make a claim for compensation in the event that they contract COVID-19 at the workplace.