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COIDA - WHAT IS AN OCCUPATIONAL INJURY (CONTINUED)



Accidents that occur while an employee is on their way to work -   

In order for an employee to claim, the accident should “arise out of and in the course of an employee's employment”. It should have occurred while the worker was on duty and should have been part of the worker's scope of duty (doing what he or she was employed to do). In other words, the employment caused the accident or exposed the worker to the risk of the accident while the worker was doing a task that he or she was employed to do.  

 

An employee, who is travelling to and from work, would normally not be on duty and secondly not be doing what he or she was employed to do. If such an employee is involved in an accident, it will not be deemed to be an injury on duty. 

 

Employees who are transported as part of their work -

There is however an exception when it comes to the conveyance of employees as contained in Section 22 of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) which reads -  “The conveyance of an employee by or on behalf of the employer to or from his or her place of employment or any place for the purposes of his or her employment by means of any transportation in furtherance of the business of the employer, shall be deemed to take place in the course of such employee's employment.” 

 

In addition, the amendment act further clarifies that such conveyance “will be deemed to commence once an employee reaches the place designated by the employer for pick-up and ceases on drop-off at the place as so designated by the employer”.   

 

Teambuilding and Training -

While the principal act covered trainees who performed first-aid, ambulance, or rescue work, firefighting, or other emergencies, it was vague about training and teambuilding events. The amended act is much clearer and states that “Trainees undergoing any work-related training in furtherance and pursuance of the employer's business are covered”.  

   

Employee on standby - 

If an employee on standby is called out by the employer, it should be viewed as “in course and scope of duty”. If the employee is involved in an accident while traveling to the workplace, it would be deemed to be an injury on duty. Even in cases where it would be expected from the standby worker to make use of private transport, it could still be deemed to be in the course and scope of duty.

 

The worker should however be able to prove that they traveled among the most economical route to work. Please note that standby workers would be covered up to the point where they finish the task or job that they were called out to do. Travelling back home with private transport will normally not be covered by COIDA. On the other hand, if the worker makes use of an official company vehicle, provided for standby purposes, they would be covered while driving back to home.  



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