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Macau: Clarifying occupational accidents

Pedro CortésMarta Mourão
The Legislative Assembly is appraising a proposal to amend Decree Law 40/95/M of August 14, which establishes the right to compensation for occupational accidents and diseases.

To further enhance the protection of rights of injured workers and to clarify the procedures necessary to compensate damages arising from occupational accidents and diseases, the draft law provides for a wider range of situations that may be considered an occupational accident.

One of the proposals of the draft law is to include within its scope any accident that occurs when directly travelling to or from the place of employment during the period in which a tropical storm signal equal to or higher than the number eight is issued, within two hours before and subsequent to the individual's hours of work. In view of this, the Draft Law expressly excludes tropical storms from examples of force majeure, in which the right to compensation is excluded.

The draft law also presents an exception to the mandatory transfer of liability, for situations where the employer exempts the worker from working during a tropical storm when the signal equal to or higher than the number eight is issued.

The proposal also seeks the inclusion in the legal regime of accidents that happen during vocational training provided directly or indirectly by the employer, whether or not they take place in the place of work.

The draft law further provides for the clarification of some concepts that have been raising doubts in its interpretation, including tropical storm signal, hospital, health centre and medical clinic.

Regarding the mandatory communication to the Labour Department, the proposal establishes alternative deadlines. It suggests that employers (or their representatives) should be obliged to notify the Labour Department of any occupational accident that occurred in their place of work, and resulted in hospitalisation or death, within 24 hours of the incident (or the employer becoming aware of the incident). For occupational accidents without the said consequences, the employer should communicate the accident to the Labour Department within five working days.

Pedro Cortés and Marta Mourão

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