Minister of Employment Hon Jone Usamate with participants at the Doctors Workshop – Phrase 2 Training in the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment Under Workcare and AMA5 Guides program for Fiji Assessors. Photo: DEPTFO.
The Workmen’s Compensation Reform under the Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations will ensure that the backlog of 2092 cases are resolved to assist the needy.
Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Hon. Jone Usamate highlighted this at the opening of the Phase 2 Training on the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment under Work Care and AMA5 Guides Programme for Fiji Assessors in Suva today.
Minister Usamate said the backlog of workmen’s compensation cases included 304 for deaths while 1788 accounted for injuries.
“It is envisaged that the work on the Workers’ Compensation Reform as approved for the next financial year will strengthen the social protection mechanism and enable us to further the concept of ‘no fault scheme’ that will be introduced in 2018 under the Accident Compensation Scheme,” Minister Usamate said.
“As recently announced in the 2017-2018 budget, it is hoped that the Accident Compensation Scheme and ‘no fault system’ can also be a mechanism that applies to workplace accidents.”
Minister Usamate told the 30 doctors present at the training that they would become the focal point in compensation decisions now and into the reform phase.
“Well trained impairment assessors are critical in accurate Worker Compensation evaluation. This will ensure that cases are quickly and professionally assessed by doctors and compensation is paid out speedily by employers to injured workers and family dependents.”
The training is facilitated by Occupational Medicine Specialist Dr Dwight Dowda, who has so far trained 218 medical assessors in the country from 2010 – 2016.
“Through this training, I want to see more standardized assessment by medical assessors. This will minimize the disparities which often lead to unnecessary disputes and delays thus continuously increasing the number of backlog cases,” Minister Usamate said.
The Employment Ministry, through the National OHS Advisory Board, has put in place the “Fiji Workcare Guides for the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment” manual to assist in assessing the Workers’ Compensation cases and have a positive effect on the backlog cases.
The training will end today.