Objectives and features
Objectives of the Program
These are described as follows:
- a)To determine the activities to foster and assist that will tend to improve conditions of work and health for the working population, and protect them from the hazards involved at work that may affect individual or collective health in the workplace such as physical, chemical, biological, ergonomic, psycho-social, health and safety factors;
- b) To determine the health care benefits for workers and monetary benefits for temporary disability where there has been a work injury or illness or work-related death, and
- c) To determine eligibility and payment to beneficiaries of monetary benefits for permanent or partial disability, or occupational illness and work-related death, and
- d) To strengthen activities aiding in establishing the origin of occupational injuries and illnesses and oversight of the systems of occupational hazards, in accordance with article 2 of the Decree of 1994.
Scope of application: The Worker?s Compensation General Program, as one of the exceptions set out in article 279 of Law 100 of 1993, applies to all companies that operate in the national territory and to the workers, contractors, subcontractors, and to the public official and semi-official sectors and all areas of the private sector in general.
Features of the worker´s Compensation Program
Besides the features of the worker?s compensation program, the occupational hazards program has some of its own features such as the following:
1. It is exclusively focused on protection of the wage-earning population in the formal economy, both those working in the public sector as well as the private sector, pursuant to the dispositions set out in section (d) of article 4 of Decree 1295 of 1994, and also sets out specific dispositions for independent workers in a voluntary fashion, in subsection (b) of article 13 of the above-mentioned statute.
2. It focuses on the prevention of hazards, to the extent it seeks to prevent, protect and assist workers with respect to the effects of occupational injuries and events that may occur during or as a result of the work carried out, pursuant to the dispositions set out in article 1 of the governing statute and other regulations, particularly articles 35, 56 and following.
3. It is designed as an insurance program, which is provided by the employer in accordance with the dispositions set out in section (c) of article 4, meaning that all employers must be affiliated with the worker?s compensation general program and therefore are required to pay contributions to have a right to the benefits corresponding to the risk that is being insured, and
4. It operates in conjunction with the contributory system of the general health care program, and thus, those affiliated under the program are also affiliated to the contributory health care program, meaning that when an occupational injury or illness occurs, health care is provided by the relevant Health Provider Agencies (Entidades Promotora de Salud) to which the worker is affiliated.
In summary, the program, which is managed, directed, supervised and overseen by the State, has several Worker?s Compensation Administrators (Administradoras de Riesgos Profesionales ? ARP) who are responsible for the affiliation of the relevant workers and contributions are paid by the companies; however, this affiliation is made by the employer freely and voluntarily.
It is noteworthy that in Part II of Decree 1295 of 1994 the concepts of hazards, occupational injuries and illnesses are defined for the purposes of the application of the Program.
In the same way the Pension and Health programs have two types of affiliated members - obligatory and voluntary - when one of these members suffers an occupational injury or illness and as a result is permanently or temporarily disabled or dies, he or she shall have the right to receive assistance and the payment of the monetary benefits stipulated in the law.
Insurance agencies. These are the life insurance agencies duly authorized by the Office of the Superintendent of Banking to insure occupational hazards, which act as a private entity. This administration may be an exclusive activity or part of the other activities carried on by the each insurance agency.
What is an occupational injury or illness?
An occupational injury is any sudden event that is caused by or occurs during work, and that produces an organic injury, functional disturbance, disability, or death to the worker. An occupational injury also includes one that occurs while the worker carries out an employer?s orders or while carrying out work under the employer?s authority, even if it outside regular work hours, while the worker is being transported to his or her workplace in cases where the transportation is provided by the employer.
An occupational illness is any permanent or temporary pathological state that occurs as a probable or direct result of the type of work carried out by the worker or as a result of the workplace where the worker must carry out his or her duties and that has been defined as an occupational illness by the national government.
The worker who suffers an occupational injury or illness shall have the right to receive:
- Medical, surgical, therapeutic, and pharmacological assistance
- Dental services
- Provision of medication
- Additional services for diagnosis and treatment
- Prosthetics and orthotics
- Physical and professional rehabilitation
- Transportation costs
The affiliated member has the right to receive from the affiliated company through the Worker?s Compensation Administrator:
Basic technical assistance to design the occupational health program
- Basic training to set up the first aid brigade
- Training of the Joint Occupational Health Committee and the occupational supervisors
- Promotion of a healthy work environment and lifestyle
- For temporary disability: a subsidy equal to 100% of the base salary calculated as of the day following the injury or diagnosis of the illness until rehabilitation or recovery, declaration of permanent disability or illness, or death; but no greater than 180 days, subject to an extension of an additional equal time period.
- For permanent or partial disability: an indemnity equal to the damages suffered, but no less than the base salary used to calculate contributions and no greater than 24 times that sum.
- Disability pension: for disability between 50% and 66%: an income equal to 60% of the base salary paid, and when greater than 66%, shall give rise to a pension equal to 75% of the base salary paid.
- Survivor pension: for the death of an affiliated member: 75% of the base salary paid and for death of the affiliated member due to disability, 100% of the mentioned pension.
- Burial expenses: as set out in article 86 of Law 100 of 1993.
Institutions in the program
The management of the Worker?s Compensation Program is under the aegis of the Department of Labor and Social Security, an entity that has the following functions under the Program:
- Foster the prevention of occupational hazards
- Oversee and supervise the organization of services for prevention
- Ensure that administrators and companies investigate factors leading to occupational injuries and illnesses
- Provide advice to authorities on occupational hazards
- Formulate and adopt policies and develop plans for occupational hazards
- Draft the budgetary plan for the expenses related to the Occupational Hazards Fund
- Oversee the operations of the classification boards
Advice and Consulting
The National Council for Occupational Hazards carries out studies, research and proposals for regulations, policy, and Plan strategies, and has the following functions:
- Recommend strategies and programs for the occupational hazards program
- Recommend technical standards for occupational health
- Make recommendations on the prevention of occupational hazards
- Recommend modifications to the classification table of occupational illnesses
- Recommend supervisory standards for work conditions
- Approve the general budget for the Occupational Hazards Fund
Administration of the Program
The Worker?s Compensation Administrators (ARP) have the responsibility for collection of the contributions and affiliation of companies and workers, as well as the guarantee of access to services, and have the following functions:
- Affiliation and collection
- Collection, billing and distribution of contributions
- Guarantee service provision
- Carry out activities for the prevention of occupational hazards, as well as providing advice and evaluation of occupational hazards
- Promote and publicize programs on occupational medicine, industrial hygiene, occupational health, and industrial safety
- Offer additional services for occupational health
The Worker?s Compensation Administrators are the National Social Security Administration and life insurance agencies duly authorized by the Office of the Superintendent of Banking