A HEALTH GAP IN GHANA’S WORKMEN’S COMPENSATION ACT 1987 (PNDC 187): EMBRACING THE STARRING ROLE OF PSYCHOLOGISTS

COLLINS BADU AGYEMANG, ERICA DICKSON

Abstract


Background: Globally, thousands of deaths and disabilities occur because of work-related injuries. Research is replete with workplace safety strategies. However, workplace safety research is plagued with the lack of depth into the provisions of the law on compensation in the event of an accident. As a result of Ghana’s legislation, each workplace accident case is adjudged and compensated for on the basis of quantifiable support to physical loss.  

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to highlight the gap in psychological considerations in compensating employees for work-related injury as it exists in Ghana’s current Workmen Compensation Act of 1987.

Methodology: The paper uses an illustrative case study and adopt a content analysis of clinical documentation of a typical case of a man who suffered a work-related injury that resulted in both physical and psychological injury.

Findings: The inadequacy of solely acting on the recommendation of a medical officer in executing compensation to an accident victim was established. The discovery of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that had rendered the victim non-functional even after years of physical loss assessment compensation cements the limited nature of the provisions of the law. The provision of psychological intervention by mental health workers proved exhaustive in handling individual and family level psychological challenges. The Act allowed for the lapses in none psychological referral, intervention or assessment of damage from mental injury to estimate compensation. At the macro and micro level, Occupational Health and Safety is not of a priority in healthcare promotion and intervention in Ghana.

Practical Implications: Based on the findings, the authors advocate for a review of the Ghana’s Workmen’s Compensation Act to include psychologists, social workers, and other health practitioners to be involved in the assessment for compensation in work-related injuries. By application, the use of medico-legal criteria should be extended to medico-psycho legal criteria for determining compensations for victims of workplace accidents. It proposes a sensitization drive by the Mental Health Authority of Ghana and Ghana Psychological Association to the populace and the inclusion or expansion of mental health curriculum in other stakeholder’s education.

Originality: This paper is has highlighted the need for psychological assessment and compensation for work-related injury in Ghana.  The findings of this case suggest that compensation should encompass psychological disability as a result of workplace accident. The principle of the law should therefore be reviewed to incorporate psychologist and other mental health workers, to holistically assess and compensate victims of work-related injury in Ghana.

Keywords


Workmen’s Compensation Act 1987, psychological injury, occupational health and safety, work-related injury, Ghana

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