Employment & Labour, Insights

Workplace Hazards and Imperatives of Increased Social Security Under the Employees’ Compensation Act

The growing appetite for organizations, corporations, industries, factories and other business establishments to develop international influence and drive increased market share has made workplaces to be more prone to hazards. The International Labour Organization (ILO) in a recent report estimated that about 317 million non-fatal occupational injuries and 321,000 occupational fatalities occur globally each year.

These estimates imply that every day approximately 6,400 people die from occupational accidents or diseases and that 860,000 people are injured on the job. It also shows that about 151 workers sustain a work-related accident every 15 seconds.
Employers are under obligation to provide reasonably safe and healthy work environment for their employees. To this extent, an employer must commit to eliminating dangers of work and machinery by providing safe workplace and work equipment; complying with conditions of health, safety and occupational health; and ensuring that machines and work equipment are installed and kept in safe conditions. Various labour legislations (International and Municipal) prescribe different measures to reduce, if not completely eliminate, work hazards.
Notwithstanding, employees are occasionally injured on the job. Such injuries may include fractured bones or limbs, aggravation of pre-existing health conditions, occupational illness and, of course, psychological injuries. These injuries, and in extreme cases fatalities, which are almost inevitable, place heavy economic burden on individuals, employers, and society. To cushion the effects of such mishap, the law has established some safety nets and palliatives in terms of social security for victims of such contingencies.

The Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund and Employees’ Compensation Fund are birthed to provide social security window for “an open and fair system of guaranteed and adequate compensation for all employees or their dependents for any death, injury, disease or disability arising out of or in the course of employment”. The Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund Management Board is charged with general management and administration of the Funds. This article examines the imperatives of contributions and remittance to the Funds, compliance challenge and modalities for increased solvency of the Funds.

The Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (“NSITF”) is a solvent pool into which all contributions and other monies as may be required under the establishment Act shall be paid and administered in accordance with its seminal objectives. By section 12 (b) of the Act, it is the obligation of an employer to contribute into the fund on behalf of the employee against the contingency of employment. Such contribution, or liability for penalty thereon, must not – under any guise – diminish the remuneration or allowances an employee is entitled to under his contract of employment. The Act repealed the National Provident Fund Act and the National Provident Fund (Management Board) Act…




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