It is not widely known that in case of an occupational accident, employers may have financial obligation not only towards their employees but also towards the state as well. In addition to the compensation for damages payable to the worker, the employer may be obliged to reimburse health expenses to the central budget.

According to the act on health insurance system, the employer shall be liable to reimburse any health insurance benefits paid in connection with an occupational accident or an occupational disease, if the accident or the disease occurred as a result of an infringement of the mandatory occupational safety regulations by the employer or its representatives or if the accident was caused by them deliberately. One may see this regulation as a novelty because, although this rule came into force twenty years ago, it was not applied by the authorities frequently. However, the recent practice of the government offices suggests that the enforcement of this reimbursement claim against employers will become more frequent.

According to standard practice, the employer shall reimburse the health insurance services that were necessary to handle an occupational accident or disease regardless of the level of accountability of the affected employee, except, if a labour safety regulation was breached solely by the employee, in which case the employer shall not be held liable.

Labour safety regulations demand a lot of attention from employers. They shall provide adequate training for employees about the conditions of safety at the particular workplace, not only at the beginning of work but in each case such working conditions change (e.g. secondment, promotion, introduction of a new work instrument). The subject matter of the training sessions shall be recorded and a protocol shall be signed by all participants. The employer shall also secure personal safety equipment required to the given workplace and shall demand their proper use as well.

If, despite all precautions, an occupational accident occurs, the best the employer can do is to log all details of the accident and investigate its circumstances carefully. These actions may be relevant since the decision of the government office may be based on incomplete facts, which can be completed in the course of proceedings for legal remedy.

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