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Dubai office staff working Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: Ensuring that workers are protected from the risks of work injuries and occupational diseases is an employer’s obligation. This is clearly stipulated in the UAE’s Labour Law – Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021. But, what happens if the employer fails in this obligation?

A new cabinet resolution was issued in April this year – Cabinet Resolution No. 33 of 2022 – concerning work injuries and occupational diseases. The resolution not only specifies how work injuries and occupational diseases can be identified, but also provides the procedures that need to be followed in such situations.

So, how are occupational diseases and work injuries categorised? This is what the new resolution states about identifying them.

1. Occupational diseases

Occupational diseases are specified in the first annex attached to the cabinet resolution, referred to as ‘Schedule No. 1’. The schedule lists 17 specific diseases, that may arise due to continuous exposure to chemicals, radiation or micro-particles, that may be inhaled during the worker’s service.

What is an occupational disease?
According to MOHRE’s website – - an occupational disease is a disease or disorder that is caused by the work or working conditions. This means that the disease must have developed due to exposures in the workplace and that the correlation between the exposures and the disease is well-known in medical research.

2. Permanent Total Disability

What would be categorised as permanent total disability is listed in Schedule No. 2 of the resolution. These instances listed are:

  1. Loss of both arms from the shoulder or loss of any two or more limbs.
  2. Total loss of eyesight or loss of both eyes.
  3. Total paralysis.
  4. Imbecility or total mental deficiency.
  5. Injuries or accidents to the head or skull causing continuous headache.
  6. Total disfigurement of face.
  7. Injuries and accidents to the chest and internal organs causing permanent and total inability to function normally.

3. Permanent Partial Disability

The resolution also lists how a permanent partial disability should be identified. Schedule No. 3 lists 45 instances of possible permanent injuries, and the severity that would be assigned to each.

As the injuries that are listed become more severe, the percentage assigned to it gradually increases.For example, a total and permanent loss of hearing is assigned a 50 per cent severity, whereas the loss of a tooth is assigned a 2-3 per cent severity.

Procedure to follow in case of work-related injuries or occupational diseases

The resolution also provides details on the duties of an employer in case a worker sustains a labour injury or occupational disease, which are as follows:

1. Report the incident to the medical authority.

2. Report the incident to the competent police station according to the geographical scope. The report must be made immediately in the event of a work injury as a result of an accident or any injury other than an occupational disease, and the report must indicate the date the employer became aware of the occupational disease.

3. Report the incident to Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MOHRE) through specialised channels within a maximum period of 48 hours from the date of the employer’s knowledge of the occupational disease or any other work injury.

The report must include the worker’s name, age, vocation, address, and nationality, in addition to a brief description of the accident, its circumstances and the arrangements made for the employee's medical aid or treatment.

How to report work injury to MOHRE

As the responsibility for reporting the work injury to MOHRE lies with the employer, they are required to do so through the ‘MOHRE’ app, which is available for Apple and Android devices. Once you log in to your employer account, you would need to fill in the report under the ‘Report injury’ service.

Compensation for work injuries

Article 37 of the Labour Law provides the following regulations on compensation for work injuries and occupational diseases:

The employer shall, in case the worker has a work injury or an occupational disease:

a. Bear the expenses of the worker’s treatment until he recovers and is able to return to work or proves his disability, in accordance with the conditions, rules and procedures specified by the Implementing Regulation hereof.

b. If the work injury or occupational disease prevents the worker from performing his work, the employer shall pay to the worker an amount equivalent of his full wage throughout the treatment period or for six months, whichever is less. If the treatment period exceeds six months, the worker shall obtain half wage for another six months, or until the worker is cured or his disability proven/death occurs, whichever is earlier.

3. If the work injury or occupational disease led to the death of the worker, their family shall be entitled to compensation equal to the basic wage of the worker for 24 months, provided that the compensation amount is not less than Dh18,000 and not more than Dh200,000. The compensation amount is calculated according to the basic wage that the worker was receiving before his death and the compensation is distributed among the eligible beneficiaries of the deceased worker according to the Implementing Regulation hereof, while preserving the rights of the deceased’s family in the end of service benefits and any other financial entitlements payable to the worker.