When can an employer be held legally liable for a contractor or employees with injuries on duty (IOD)?



Each participant in the workplace has certain responsibilities, the client, the contractor, and all employees. When an incident occurs, it may be unclear when the employer can be held legally liable for a contractor or employee where injury on duty (IOD) is concerned.


Who is the employee?

Any person who has entered an agreement or contract of service with an employer is considered an employee. The service contract can either be in writing, expressed, or implied. It also applies to all temporary, permanent, and underaged workers, as defined in Section 1 of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA)

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Who is the employer?

This can be any person who appoints more than one employee. When a client appoints a contractor to conduct work on their premises, they are the contractor’s employer. The contractor that employs others under it to perform work is considered their direct employer.


What is an Occupational Injury or Accident?

It is considered an occurrence of which a date, time, and a place can be determined, arising out of, and during, an employee’s employment which resulted in personal injury. Such injuries are also referred to as injuries on duty, or IODs, and are specifically classified as such as they occur while the employee is performing their duties at work.


When can the client be held responsible for IODs of employees and contractors?

Should a contractor’s employee be injured, the general consensus would be that the medical expenses and lost wages be paid by their own employer, however, this is not always the case, and such liability can fall to the client in a number of cases.


Gross Negligence

Should an independent contractor, or someone in their employment, be injured on the premises of the client, it is not always clear who the responsible party is. However, there is an exception where gross negligence is concerned and as result of this, an injury occurred or it contributed to the injury.

Should the client employ an independent contractor to perform a task and they are aware of dangerous conditions that exist in the workplace, and the contractor’s employee is injured, the client will be liable as result of gross negligence in failing to inform the contractor of the unsafe conditions.

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Contractor’s license

When a client appoints a contractor to carry out a specific task and the contractor can prove that they have a valid and current contractor’s license, they are legally responsible for the IOD. It is for this reason, when clients appoint contractors, that the contractors are licensed and can provide proof as their claim to a license will not absolve the client from responsibility.



It is important that all employers who appoint employees register with the Compensation Commissioner within seven days of appointing their first employee. Both the client and the contractor, as employers, must ensure that they are registered and that their annual assessment fees are up to date, or they may be liable for the compensation of the injured.


How can SafetyWallet help Employers and Contractors’ Health and Safety Compliance?

In a world which is constantly changing, with new and stricter regulations, it is becoming increasingly difficult to always ensure full compliance. SafetyWallet helps and supports its subscribers despite the industry in which they operate or the number of employees and contractors under their responsibility.

With  SafetyWallet and its partnership with MAKROSAFE and OHS Online, subscribers can ensure that they are a part in creating a safer, healthier, and more compliant working environment. To find out how you can ensure employers’ and contractor Health and Safety, click here.


Posted date: 7th Mar 2021