'Occupational injury' restricted to hospital, lab workers' with COVID — SSC

1. protective gear COVID
Healthcare workers in protective attire at a hospital in Amman during the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Insurance and social protection expert and former spokesman for the Social Security Cooperation (SSC) Mousa Al-Subaihi questioned why only hospital and laboratory professionals, insured under the Social Security umbrella, who are infected with the coronavirus, are considered in the category of "occupational injuries".  اضافة اعلان

Subaihi told Jordan News that work injuries should include any injury that an insured person is subjected to at the workplace as a result of direct contact with the public, saying the SSC's decision to limit infection with COVID-19 — as occupational injury — to professionals working in hospitals and laboratories reflects a restricted interpretation of the law.

He said that any insured person who gets infected with COVID-19 at work, or in a work-related environment should be recognized as a victim of work injury, especially if that infection leads to disability or death.

Subaihi also wondered why health workers providing services at vaccine centers and PCR test locations are not included in the work injury insurance. "What if a health worker gets infected while performing his duty or as a consequence of that duty?"

He said any worker in these centers is exposed to infection with the virus at any moment from any patient, and asked: "So can we say that his infection does not fall within the occupational disease and therefore is not considered a work injury?”

A member of the Auxiliary Health Occupation Committee, who spoke to Jordan News on condition of anonymity, said that “despite the fact that auxiliary health workers get in direct contact with people and that there is a high chance that they could get infected with the virus, their infection is not recognized as a work injury”.

He added that 14 workers had passed away since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and that a significant number of health workers are infected, “however, only a few of them were accorded compensation, and only a few months ago”.

He said that health workers have been demanding an allowance of 135 percent on equal footing with other similar sectors, but their demand has not been met. “Our demand has not been fulfilled and therefore we are sure that if we ask for insurance compensation this will never happen”

Shaman Al- Majali, SSC official spokesman told Jordan News that workers in hospitals and medical laboratories have constant and direct contact with the primary cause of the virus,  and they are highly exposed to being infected; "especially that they are in close touch with COVID-19 patients all the time”.

He also said that not all workers in the medical sector can be covered; “We consider the work of people in facilities that contain toxic gases as a dangerous profession, but there are many who are exposed to these gases, indirectly however, and therefore their work cannot be considered as a dangerous profession.”

He stressed the fact that workers should be in a direct and constant contact with patients in order for any possible infection to be considered as work injury.

Social Security Corporation had earlier stated that infection with the coronavirus among insured individuals working in hospitals and medical laboratories is considered an occupational disease; a form of work injury under the Social Security Law, and therefore if the infection leads to the disability or death of the insured, he/she is entitled to compensation.

Read more National news