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Women are more likely to contract Covid-19 at work

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Women in South Africa appear to be more prone than men to contracting Covid-19 at work, the Department of Employment and Labour said on Thursday, citing data on claims lodged with the Compensation Fund.

It said the claims from the fund which provides compensation for workers who get hurt at work, fall sick from diseases contracted at work, or die as a result of these injuries or diseases  indicated that more than 80% of the cases received so far involved women. This was consistent in all of South Africa’s nine provinces.

To date, the Compensation Fund had received 941 claims, with the Western Cape province accounting for 657.

Of the total, 533 claims were from women, the department said. In the Eastern Cape, 99 claimants were women out 127 received.

It said the fund had accepted liability in 356 claims and repudiated 69 while 233 were pending adjudication.

“We are aware that our frontline workers like nurses and other medical staff have been affected by the pandemic,” Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi said.

“We would like to send the appeal for employers to ensure that workers are adequately protected and are given the necessary protective gear to do their jobs. Our figures show that most affected employees are nurses who are paying the ultimate price so that we get a second chance and survive the pandemic.”

He said the department’s inspection and enforcement services had upped their in-loco inspections to ensure that workers were protected and that the letter and spirit of Covid-19 safety regulations were followed.

“Unfortunately, we continue to see low levels of compliance with compliance rates hovering at 57% for the private sector and 47% for the public sector. Since the start of the lockdown, we have served 385 prohibition notices and overall, 2 475 notices were served,” the minister added.

He urged workers to refuse to work under dangerous conditions, citing how a company that flouted labour laws and did not adhere to lockdown regulations was found guilty and fined this week after workers blew the whistle.

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Source: IOL