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Accidents at work and occupational diseases

The rights of workers in cases of work-related injuries (accidents at work and occupational diseases) when the worker cannot hold the employer accountable, his subordinates or others whom he is responsible for, are regulated in the Act Respecting Labourers' Right to Wages on Account of Absence through Sickness and Accidents No. 19/1979, and further improved upon on in collective agreements. Those rights are sickness pay and in addition, day-time wages for up to three months. 

In addition to sickness pay, in each case of a work related accident or occupational disease caused by work, or if it is a direct consequence of his work, or occurs during the worker’s journey back and forth from the place of work, the concerned employer is required to pay in addition to normal sickness pay, wages for up to three months according to the worker’s day-time wages at the time the accident or sickness, provided all payments from the social security and/or from the national health insurance are paid directly to the employer. 

Medical expenses

In case of work related accidents, the employer must pay for the transport of the injured worker to his home or to a hospital. The employer must refund the worker all normal medical expenses in each case, provided that this cost is not refunded by the worker’s health insurance or social security.

Insurance for death, accident and disability

Employers have a duty under collective agreements to insure their workers against death, permanent disability or temporary disability caused by an accident at work or on a normal journey from home to the place of work and from the place of work to home. The insurance is effective from the moment the insured worker begins his employment. The insurance is terminated at the moment the insured worker leaves his employment. If damage liability is established and the employer is liable for damages to his worker, a full deduction of the accident compensation and daily allowance must be made from the compensation the employer may have to pay his worker.

Statutory occupational injury insurance

According to the Social Security Act, occupational injury insurance covers all workers. Self-employed persons are also insured unless they voluntarily choose to be exempted. Benefits are paid when an insured person is injured at work or while travelling to or from work. An injury is not regarded as having occurred in the course of work if it is caused by actions of the injured person which are in no way related to his work. The insurance, however, covers any injury to a seaman aboard his vessel, or when he and his vessel are away from the vessel's home port or the place from which the vessel is operated.

Injuries include diseases caused by the noxious effects of substances, radiation or similar conditions which prevail at most for a few days and which must be attributed to the employment.

Occupational injury insurance benefits comprise medical assistance, per diem benefits, invalidity benefits and death grants.

If an occupational injury giving rise to benefits results in sickness and loss of working capacity for ten days or more, the necessary costs of treatment of the injured person and costs rising out of damage to artificial limbs or prosthetic aids are paid in accordance with the law. If an injury does not cause inability to work for 10 days but nonetheless gives rise to expenses, such expenses may be paid to the extent that they are not paid through health insurance (2015).

For further info: Social Insurance Administration

Accountable employer

If the employer, his subordinates or others whom he is responsible for, can be held accountable for action or the lack thereof, causing a worker’s injury at the workplace, general rules stipulated in Act No. 50/1993 on Torts, apply. Damages paid under the Act are much higher than those discussed above and cover both material and immaterial injuries to the worker’s health. 

If damage liability is established and the employer is liable for damages to his worker, a full deduction of the accident compensation and daily allowance must be made from the compensation the employer may have to pay his worker.

Trade unions and their federations provide legal assistance to their members in this field. 

Reporting to the Administration of Occupational Safety and Health

An employer must notify the Administration of Occupational Safety and Health in writing within one week of all accidents in which a worker dies or becomes incapable to work for one day or more in addition to the day on which the accident occurred. An accident in which it is likely that a worker has incurred long-term or permanent damage to his health shall be reported to the Administration of Occupational Safety and Health within a maximum of twenty-four hours.