Knoetze vs Rand Mutual Association – COIDA claims – High Court Ruling

In the case of Andre Knoetze, the high court has ruled that he is entitled to compensation under the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) for hearing damage from loud noise he was exposed to over 39 years of work in the mining industry.

This case is particularly relevant in the context of the new COVID-19 amendments gazetted by government on 1 February 2022. Specifically, this new ruling specifies that individuals who test positive, but are a-symptomatic do not have to isolate. This may give employers the impression that it is permissible to allow asymptomatic COVID-19 infected staff at the workplace.

However, the June 2021 OHS Directives have not been amended yet, and the DMA is silent on these new workplace issues.

As such, it remains the responsibility of the employer to provide and maintain a safe and healthy work environment that is without risk to employees. If an employee tested positive, yet is asymptomatic, he or she remains at work and infects other employees – which could potentially lead to damage, injury, and/or loss of any kind amongst exposed employees. Plus, the responsibility will likely fall upon the employer to provide compensation to these employees.

Please take note of these specifications and continue to practise caution in your response management with regards to COVID-19 infected employees within your organisation, or that of your clients.