Workplace Accidents: How They Impact Business and Risks of Non-Compliance

Workplace accidents are an unfortunate reality that many businesses and workers are likely to face. Not only do they negatively impact the employee involved, but they can also have very serious repercussions for employers. It’s vital that employers understand their legal obligations when an accident occurs, and how they can protect their business while ensuring their employees get the best possible medical care.

What constitutes a workplace accident?

As established by the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act, employers are responsible for all persons they employ. This means that, as an employer, you are legally liable for the expenses that result from workplace accidents.

The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases (COID) Act defines a workplace accident as an accident that has occurred during employment, provided that the employee was not acting in contravention of:

  • Any laws applicable to his or her employment
  • Any orders given by or on behalf of his or her employer


How can workplace accidents impact business?

Workplace accidents can have several detrimental effects on a business, however, the most significant one is generally costs to the company.

These costs may manifest in one or more of the following ways:

  • Medical expenses

Employers will be held liable for the cost of medical attention, hospitalisation, or death that results from a work-related accident.

  • Legal expenses

Should the employee seek to take legal action against the employer, the business may incur a significant amount of legal costs. This can lead to impeded business growth and a negative public opinion of the business.

  • Time off

Time away from work can mean that a replacement needs to be hired to fill the role of the injured employee. This is especially relevant if the injured employee is absent from the workplace for a prolonged period. The employee may therefore be presented with the cost of hiring additional workers.

  • Loss of productivity

If the business does not choose to hire additional support to fill the injured worker’s role, it may experience a decrease in productivity, which could lead to reduced revenue. Furthermore, other employees may become emotionally impacted by and feel unsafe in the workplace resulting in a loss of morale and a further drop in productivity.

Many businesses cannot afford the aforementioned expenses which is why COID was passed. This act helps protect employers from civil cases related to workplace accidents and helps cover medical expenses for injured workers. 

What are the risks of not being legally compliant?

As an employer in South Africa with one or more workers, you are legally required to comply with COID. Failure to report a workplace accident or contravention of the regulations outlined by COID can result in a fine or, in more serious cases, imprisonment. In addition, if you are not compliant, you will be solely responsible for covering the expenses linked to workplace accidents.

What steps can your business take to mitigate these risks?

Although providing a safe and healthy work environment is the most effective way to prevent workplace accidents, they cannot always be avoided. As such, you should be prepared and make sure that your business has adequate measures in place to deal with accidents and the associated negative impacts.

At Accisure, we offer a membership programme that ensures companies are legally compliant and all workers are registered with COID. We also enable businesses to provide private medical care to workers who don’t have medical aid. This gives you, as the employer, peace of mind knowing that your workers will be given the best possible medical care if they are injured in an accident.

Get in touch with us to find out more: phone 0861 222 47873, email or visit the website: