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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 100-101  

Compensable work-related injuries in the estates of a tea manufacturing company


1 Formerly Postgraduate, Department of Community Health, St. John's Medical College, Bangalore, India
2 Professor, Department of Community Health, St. John's Medical College, Bangalore, India

Date of Web Publication6-Jun-2012

Correspondence Address:
Bobby Joseph
Professor, Department of Community Health, St. John's Medical College, Bangalore
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-557X.96986

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How to cite this article:
Minj C, Joseph B. Compensable work-related injuries in the estates of a tea manufacturing company. Indian J Public Health 2012;56:100-1

How to cite this URL:
Minj C, Joseph B. Compensable work-related injuries in the estates of a tea manufacturing company. Indian J Public Health [serial online] 2012 [cited 2019 Sep 15];56:100-1. Available from: http://www.ijph.in/text.asp?2012/56/1/100/96986

Sir,

Work-related morbidity and mortality not only result in suffering and hardships for the worker and his or her family, but also add to the overall cost to society through lost productivity and increased use of medical and welfare services. [1] According to a study undertaken by the International Labour Organization in Sri Lanka, occupational hazards in the tea manufacturing industry can be varied and disability or death occurring as a consequence of work-related injuries have resulted in the payment of compensation to the injured workers or their dependents. [2] Another study carried out in Uganda has revealed that almost two-thirds of employees had suffered from work-related illness or injury, and almost 30.3% reported facing occupational safety hazards at least every month. [3] Leigh et al. estimated that about 38 million Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) or 2.7% of all world DALYs were due to occupational factors. [1] According to the International Labour Organization, diseases related to work cause the most deaths among workers. Hazardous substances alone are estimated to cause 438,489 deaths a year. [4]

Our study aims at looking into the nature of injuries that resulted in the payment of compensation to the injured worker by the employing authorities in the tea industry as per the guidelines of the Workmen's Compensation Act. [5]

This study looked into the details of the Workmen's Compensation Register of four estates belonging to one tea planting company in southern India with a total of 3028 permanent workers. All recorded compensable injuries for the year 2005-2006 were considered.

The total number of work-related accidents recorded in the Workmen's Compensation Register was 24. That is, 0.79% of all permanent workers suffered an injury that was compensable by the employers during the year 2005-2006. The number of man days lost due to compensable injury was 483 days in the estates surveyed, for 22 of these recorded cases. The number of man days lost for two cases was not available as these had been referred to a higher centre but were likely to be upwards of 90 days given that they had not returned to work up until the date of data collection. On an average, every recorded work-related accident resulted in 22 workdays being lost to the estate. Fractures and dislocations were the commonest accidents that resulted in a payment of compensation to the injured worker.

A report produced by the Employers' Federation, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), states that there were 2391 accidents reported from 161 Sri Lankan estates in the year 1996. The commonest injuries to occur in the tea estates surveyed were sprains, fractures, and dislocations which occurred as a result of persons falling in the fields due to uneven and rough terrain. [2] A retrospective study of 30 cases of accidents occurring in tea factories in Assam showed that most accidents resulted in crushed injuries involving the upper extremity with accompanying fractures. [6]

The Workmen's Compensation Act provides for compensation for any worker employed in any of a wide variety of hazardous occupations who may suffer an injury. The injury must disable him for more than 3 days, totally or partially. Disablement means the loss in the earning capacity of a workman in every employment which he was capable of doing at the time of the accident. Its effect may be temporary or permanent. If he dies, his dependents can claim benefits provided by the Act. [5]

In Sri Lanka, the injuries which resulted in the payment of compensation were as follows: 890 cases of injuries resulting in temporary disability, 67 cases of partial disability, 8 cases of permanent disability and four fatalities, amounting to a total of 969 (0.84% of total workers). [2] Our study also found that around 0.8% of all workers had suffered compensable injuries and most of these were due to sprains, fractures, and dislocations. However, the details of the nature of disability and the amount paid in compensation were not available. There were no mortalities resulting from work-related accidents.

In the Sri Lankan study, every reported occupational injury resulted in an average of approximately seven workdays being lost to the estate. [2] As our study only looked at the recorded compensable injuries, the average number of workdays lost as a consequence of each of these injuries was 22 days. In Uganda, occupational injuries in the plantations were found to be quite severe (56%) and long lasting (45%). [3] The cost to society due to work-related morbidity and mortality has been estimated at 2-14% of the gross national product in different studies in different countries. [1]

Thus, occupational injuries not only affect the health and productivity of the injured worker, but also have monetary consequences for the employing authorities. Further studies on compensable work-related injuries and accidents are warranted to enable comparison of data between industries and nations and to enable effective safety management plans.

 
   References Top

1.Leigh J, Macaskill P, Kuosma E, Mandryk J. Global burden of disease and injury due to occupational factors. Appl Ergon Epidemiol 1999;10:626-31.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.Asia-Pacific Regional Network on Occupational Safety and Health Information; ILO/EFC Plantation Safety and Health Monitoring Project 1997/Report produced by the Employees Federation of Ceylon, July 1998 (Colombo). Available from: http://www.ilo.org/public/english/region/asro/bangkok/asiaosh/country/srilanka/sloshtea.htm [Last accessed on 2011 Nov 29].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.Tayo F, Herbert A, Pinoargote P: Multinational Enterprises in the Plantation Sector; Labour relations, employment, working conditions and welfare facilities (ILO Geneva; working Paper No. 93). Available from: http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_emp/---emp_ent/---multi/documents/publication/wcms_101044.pdf [Last accessed on 2011 Nov 29].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.International Labour Office. World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2005: A Background Paper. Available from: http://s3.amazonaws.com/zanran_storage/www.ilocarib.org.tt/ContentPages/43527849.pdf [Last accessed on 2011 Nov 29].  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.Sathpal Puliani, editor: The Workmen's Compensation Act 1923 (Central Act No. 8 of 1923) along with Workmen's Compensation Rules, 1966, Workmen's Compensation (Central) Rules, 1924, Allied Rules and Notifications, Commentary on Workmen's Compensation Act, 4 th Edition, Karnataka Law Journals Publications, Bangalore 2007  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.Mazumder RN. Study of accidents in tea factories treated in a tea plantation group hospital. Indian J Ind Med 1994;40:138-40.  Back to cited text no. 6
    




 

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