What is an occupational accident?
An occupational accident occurs when the accident is causally related to the employee’s work or working environment and it occurs when the employee:
- was performing their duties assigned by the employer;
- was performing other work with the permission of the employer;
- acted in the interests of the employer;
- was on a break included in working time.
It is also considered an occupational accident when a natural person working on the basis of a service provision contract has a serious or fatal occupational accident in a situation where they work at a workplace with employees of one or more employers, or are assigned temporary incapacity for work as a result of an occupational accident.
Activities in the event of an occupational accident
- Notifies the employer of the occurrence of an occupational accident immediately.
- When contacting a doctor, informs the doctor that the accident happened while working.
- Gives the employer their explanations about the incident as soon as possible.
- The doctor must immediately notify the Labour Inspectorate in writing or in a format reproducible in writing of occupational accidents resulting in death or temporary incapacity for work (reason for leave 5 (occupational accident) or 6 (traffic accident) or 7 (complication/disease resulting from an occupational accident)), by submitting a notice in accordance with the form.
- The doctor should submit the notice according to the employee’s statement and does not have information on whether there was an occupational accident or not. The decision as to whether there was an occupational accident is made by the employer in the course of an investigation.
- The Labour Inspectorate must immediately forward the doctor’s notice to the employer via the working environment database or in a format reproducible in writing.
- The labour inspector investigates occupational accidents, if necessary, but does not investigate occupational accidents in connection with which criminal proceedings are taking place. If the Labour Inspectorate decides to investigate the accident:
- the labour inspector investigates the circumstances and causes of the occupational accident within 30 working days from the day of the investigation decision. If necessary, the investigation deadline can be extended;
- upon completion of the investigation, the labour inspector writes an investigation report and sends it within three working days to the employer and the victim or to the defender of their interests;
- if during the investigation it turns out that it is not an occupational accident, the labour inspector issues a decision on the termination of the investigation, stating the reason for the termination of the investigation. The labour inspector submits a decision to the victim and the employer within three working days. The employer cancels the report, referring to the labour inspector’s decision;
- in a situation where the employer has submitted a statement stating that it was not an occupational accident, and the labour inspector ascertains that it was an occupational accident, the labour inspector demands the annulment of the statement with a precept and that the accident be processed as an occupational accident.
- If an occupational accident results in death or a life-threatening condition (generally when an ambulance is called), the employer must immediately notify the Labour Inspectorate (by calling +372 640 6000, dialling number 3) and, in the case of a fatal occupational accident, the police, by phone, supplying the following information:
- employee’s first and last name and telephone number;
- the place, date and time of the occupational accident;
- a brief description of the event;
- the name and address of the employer;
- first and last name, job title and telephone number of the person who reported the event.
- The employer submits the above information to the Labour Inspectorate as soon as possible via the self-service.
Investigation, within 10 working days of the accident
- The investigation must be started immediately upon learning of a possible occupational accident. For example, information can be given by a victim, an eyewitness, etc. It is not necessary to wait for the doctor's notice
- During the investigation, it is determined whether the accident was causally related to the employee’s work or work environment.
- The purpose of the investigation is to find out the circumstances and causes of the occupational accident and to determine measures to prevent a recurrence of a similar incident
- A working environment representative with the right to vote or, in their absence, another employee representative must participate in the investigation.
Preparation of investigation results three working days after completion of the investigation
- Whether there was an occupational accident or not is decided by the employer in the course of an investigation.
- If it is revealed that the accident does not qualify as an occupational accident, the employer must prepare a report describing the circumstances of the accident and stating the reason for ending the investigation. In addition to the employer, the report is signed by the working environment representative or, in their absence, another representative of employees. The employer must prepare the report on the accident at work in the working environment database or submit it to the Labour Inspectorate and the victim or the representative of their interests via the working environment database or in writing within three working days of the completion of the investigation.
- If the accident qualifies as an occupational accident, the employer must prepare a report on the accident at work in the working environment database or submit it to the Labour Inspectorate via the working environment database or in writing within three working days of the completion of the investigation. The employer is required to submit the report to the victim or the representative of their interests within three working days of the completion of the investigation.
Occupational accidents not resulting in temporary incapacity for work
- The employer investigates the occupational accident, but they decide on the method of investigation themselves
- There is no need to write a report upon completion of the investigation
What to do if the employee does not agree with the employer’s decision?
- If, as a result of the investigation, the employer has come to the conclusion that it was not an occupational accident, but the employee does not agree with the decision, then the employer must first be contacted (for example by email) and the employee must submit their objections and reasons
- The explanations must also be submitted if the employee disagrees with the employer’s other conclusions, such as the cause of the occupational accident
- If the parties do not reach an agreement, it is possible to submit a digitally signed application to investigate the incident to the Labour Inspectorate ([email protected]) describing the circumstances of the incident.
Storage of investigation results
Data on investigations of occupational accidents will be stored for 55 years. Reports prepared on investigations into occupational accidents and occupational diseases are stored in the working environment database.
- In the case of occupational accident compensation is paid from the 2nd day of the incapacity for work, 100% compensation rate, compensation up to 182 consecutive calendar days.
- Compensation at a rate of 100% will be paid after the employer has submitted a report to the Labour Inspectorate on the accident at work and the data has been entered into the database.
If an employee has been issued a certificate of incapacity for work due to an occupational accident, the Health Insurance Fund must verify via the Labour Inspectorate’s database whether there is a report on the case.
If there is no data in the Labour Inspectorate’s database about the report on an accident at work:
- the Health Insurance Fund is required to carry out an electronic request for information in the Labour Inspectorate’s database once per week to verify the existence of the report;
- If within 30 calendar days after the employer supplements the sick leave there is no report in the Labour Inspectorate, then immediately before the end of the 30 calendar days the Health Insurance Fund changes reason 5, 6 or 7 of the dismissal from work on the sick leave to ‘domestic injury’ (the first leave of incapacity for work and the possible successive leaves are subject to compensation at the rate of 70%). The lawyer of the Health Insurance Fund sends an order to the employee regarding the reimbursement of the sick leave at the rate of 70%.
If the employer submits an occupational accident report to the Labour Inspectorate after the Health Insurance Fund has compensated the employee at a 70% reimbursement rate for one or more sick leaves caused by an occupational accident, the employee or employer must inform the Health Insurance Fund of the occupational accident report submitted to the Labour Inspection in writing by sending the corresponding information to the email [email protected]
Before recalculating the incapacity for work, the Health Insurance Fund checks the existence of a report from the Labour Inspectorate.
The information provided in writing by the person or the employer is sent to the Health Insurance Fund to cancel the previously prepared order and an additional payment is made to the employee. The period of receiving compensation expires within 3 years.
What should you do if the benefit for incapacity for work has not been received?
- You can get information from the employer about whether they have submitted a report or statement to the Labour Inspectorate
- You can get information from the Labour Inspectorate about whether the employer has submitted a report or statement and whether the necessary data is available to the Health Insurance Fund. You can also find out what to do next on the helpline 640 6000, from Monday to Friday 9:00 to 16:30.
- If the employer has not issued a report or statement to the victim or the defender of their interests, it can be requested from the Labour Inspectorate by submitting a digitally signed application to the email [email protected]
- Information related to the certificate for incapacity for work and compensation can be viewed on the state portal www.eesti.ee in the in the ‘Certificates for incapacity for work’.
You can get information from the Health Insurance Fund by email at [email protected] or by calling 669 6630.