COMPENSATION OF WORKERS THAT CONTACT DISEASES AT WORKPLACE. * Daily Law Tips (Tip 533) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LLM. ACIArb(UK)

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Workers are often exposed to avalanche of occupational hazards and diseases. What happens when workers contact diseases at their workplace? Are workers entitled to compensation and who pays such compensation? What is the place of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF)?

All employees/workers in Nigeria, both private and public, are entitled to compensation for any death, injury or disabling occupational disease in a workplace. This includes infectious diseases contracted in an occupation where there is particular risk of contamination. Health care benefits and compensation are payable by the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund Management Board out of the Nigeria Social Insurance Fund.

First of all, affected employee or his dependent (where affected employee is dead) must communicate his injury or disease to his employer (or its agent) within 14 days of the occurrence or receipt of information of the occurrence. The communication must contain name of the employee, time and place of occurrence as well as nature and cause of disease/injury in ordinary language. Failure to communicate injury/disease within the above stipulated time, can hinder compensation unless the NSITF board orders otherwise.

Within 7 days of receipt of information on injury/disease, an employer must report same to the Board of NSITF and the nearest National Council for Occupational Safety and Health within the state. However, where there is resultant death, the employer must report immediately to the board of NSITF. Thereafter, the board will verify the reported injury/disease and confirm if same was reported to the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. An application for compensation must be made to the board within 1 year after death, injury or disease unless the board orders otherwise.

Note that members of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are exempted from the above stated compensation except for members employed in civil capacity.

My authorities are:

1. Sections 1, 2, 3, 4,5 5, 6, 9, 31, 32, 73 and 74 of the Employee’s Compensation Act of the 2010.

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