Workers compensation laws are designed to provide some degree of financial protection or help, in the event that any employee of a business and injured at work, no matter whose fault the injury or fatality may be.
These laws were introduced over time, as part of measures to help protect workers against employers, who often did not give them the protection they needed in terms of workplace health and safety.
Nowadays, most employers are more responsible, and not only comply with these laws willingly, but it is both a moral and ethical responsibility to look after the people they employ.
The nature of workers compensation laws, how much someone is entitled to, what the definitions of injury and fault are, and other considerations will vary from state to state, and country to country, but there are a number of basic principles that will underpin all these types of legislation.
These laws are particular relevance to all types of agriculture and farming businesses, given that there are significant risks the normal day-to-day work, some of which can be quantified and dealt with, other risks that are inherent in the nature of the work itself.
Workers compensation rules are designed to provide compensation to an employee or their family, and that employee becomes unable to perform the duties due to an injury or accident sustained during the course of employment.
There may be certain conditions as to how long an employee has to have been with a company or business before such policies come into effect, but even these will normally be fairly minimal, quite often round 30 days or so
Normally both an employer, and the employee, will make the contribution into the workers compensation fund that will be set up by a local authority. This is a contribution, akin to an insurance premium, and although not technically an insurance policy, workers compensation normally acts in a similar manner.
The main element of these laws is essentially to provide no-fault financial compensation to alleviate significant distress at the time of injury or accident.
There as will normally be some conditions implicit in any claim, again similar to an insurance policy.
These conditions will normally apply to the length of time within which a claim has to be notified, how the accident was reported or managed, and what the employee may be required to do by way of medical examination or assessment.
Payouts made through a worker’s compensation act normally done as a weekly wage, as apart from a lump sum. This in some ways is to keep the process in check, and provided ongoing compensation whilst injury or accident prevents employee working.
In the event of a fatality, then there could possibly be a lump sum payable, depending upon the terms of the scheme.
There is a normal requirement for businesses to have posters up detailing the nature of the scheme, and the fact that the scheme exists for the benefit of employees. Businesses may also have other obligations as to how to publicise the scheme, depending upon the nature of the company or the workplace.
This obligation extends itself to agriculture and farming businesses, although how the publicity and acknowledgement of the scheme works may differ depending upon local authority regulations.
The main obligation on an employee st normally to notify the employer of any injury or accident as soon as is reasonably practical. This is really relevant, even if the injury does not seem particularly serious at the time. Even a minor injury may get more serious over time, and if not immediately notified may invalidate any future claims.
All notifications should ideally be done or confirmed in writing, either by letter or e-mail, as would be the case in a normal insurance claim. This can make a significant difference if there are any problems further down the line by way of delaying or deferment of payment obligations.
There should also be an accident or incident book located in the workplace, where all accidents and incidents should be physically recorded. This is normally an obligation on the employer.