I work with a road construction firm. I was recently involved in an accident. I was dislodging a truck when molten tar poured on my arms and part of my leg. I was badly burnt. The company cleared my initial bills but has refused to pay for advanced treatment claiming I am a casual employee. The doctors recommended surgery but I cannot afford the bill. What can I do? Mahad
The Uganda Workerman’s Compensation Act provides liability of employers for any accident suffered in the course of duty. The law requires employers to insure workers against such risks. However, a good number of employers do not cushion themselves against these risks due to lack of awareness of the law. This may be the case with your employer.
Some employers have come up with avoidance techniques, which include outsourcing some of their services or casualisation of labour. However, these techniques do not remove the liability of the employer for accidents that occur in their workplaces.
Your employer should have taken out an insurance policy, not to transfer the liability to compensate you as his worker to the insurer but rather, protect his company from the risk you mention. This therefore means that by law, your employer has the responsibility to foot all medical bills and in addition, compensate you for the injuries suffered.
Casualization of labour has been abused by some employers who give workers verbal appointments and hence deny them documentation to support their claim of employment.
However, under Ugandan labor laws, workers are entitled to compensation in case of injuries suffered in the course of duty.
You should therefore consult the Labour Officer in your area to advise you on the best course of action.
Head Human Resource
Monitor Publications Limited