The construction industry is expected to rebound significantly in 2022, and expand by 9.1% in real terms, positioning it as a significant contributor to South Africa’s post COVID-19 economic recovery, and national infrastructure development plan. In 2019, the value added by the construction sector accounted for around 4% of the country’s GDP and employed well over 1.3 million people.
However, a closer look at the inner workings of the construction industry reveals a disconcerting dark side, veiled by the wealth of opportunities.
On average, a shocking 36 people sustain injuries requiring medical attention while on duty every single day resulting in temporary disablement, permanent disablement, and the loss of life. With a track record spanning 86 years in the field of workmen’s compensation, The Federated Employers Mutual Assurance Company is one of two private sector companies that have been issued a license to provide services under the COID Act by the South African government.
The compensation, in terms of the COID Act, is funded by employers, and places an obligation on these employers to make contributions on an annual basis, aimed at providing compensation in the form of payment and medical aid for disablement caused by accidents or industrial diseases contracted by employees in the course of their employment, and for death or disease resulting from such accidents.
Family represents the foundation of self, and as such FEM agrees that family is everything, and we will go to great lengths to support the preservation of families, one breadwinner at a time. The economic costs of workplace injuries only tell part of the story.
There is also a major human cost that is often overlooked. Imagine the physical pain and suffering an injured worker goes through daily. The unrelenting pain comes with problems sleeping, trouble moving around, and difficulty or the inability to do the things they once enjoyed.
The prospect of having your life turned upside down like this, and not knowing if it will ever be the same is something that can seem nearly impossible to live with. These are intangible costs that are very real, and it is impossible to put a price on them. A work-related injury or occupational illness is bad enough for the individual who is suffering from it, but the costs do not end there. Families also suffer deep emotional and financial pain because of a loved one’s injury.
Children tend to be hit the hardest by these types of injuries as they are forced to deal with the reality of a parent who has a medical condition that renders them unable to go to work and put food on the table. Some of these injuries also significantly change the family dynamic by reversing various roles. This thrusts the spouse and children into a caregiving role, which is something many people may not be emotionally ready to deal with.
The effect of workplace injuries on families in single parent households is even more devastating. When the one parent who the children depend on for everything suddenly gets hurt, finances are even tighter, and the duty to care for the injured parent may fall squarely on the children. That is just one side of the coin. If an employer is not registered for workmen’s insurance under the COID Act, and one of their employees is injured, falls ill, or suffers a fatality on duty, the treating doctors or hospital will demand payment which the employer will be held liable for, and this can lead to financial ruin.
The Federated Mutual Assurance Company through the ZERO IS NO ACCIDENT campaign, seek to mitigate the risk for both employers and employees by delivering a preferred, excellent, and sustainable workmen’s compensation service that champions health and safety in the workplace as a key pillar to the continued growth and success of the industry, and provide quality care, empathy and financial support to employees, and their families in the unfortunate event of an accident, illness, or untimely death.
We firmly believe that every workplace accident, illness, or death is preventable, that an industry with ZERO incidents is achievable. Getting to ZERO will not happen by chance, it requires purposeful planning, and a concerted effort by the entire construction industry to nurture positive change in behaviours, attitudes and perceptions towards health and safety, for the future of the industry.
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