The Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC), an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) granted EC disability benefits to a 45-year old utility worker due to his work-related injury.

The worker had been employed as helper-utility at the Tuna Picking Section of Permex Producer and Exporter Corporation in Zamboanga City.

On September 8, 2016, he was rushed by his co-workers to the Brent Hospital and Colleges Inc. in Zamboanga City, when he accidentally fell from a damaged roof with a height of about 20 ft. while attempting to repair the said roof at his workplace.

The accident report revealed that the worker was instructed by his foreman to accompany him in climbing the roof to repair its damaged metal purlins. Upon reaching the roof, the foreman told him that they need to secure a rope to tie the damaged metal purlins. As the foreman got down to the ground to take a rope, the worker was instructed to standby until the foreman ascended back on the roof. But without waiting for the foreman’s return, he moved towards the damaged metal purlins and accidentally stepped on the damaged portion of the roof causing him to fall to the ground. Thus, he suffered from fractures and right arm dislocation.

The worker’s EC claim was denied by the SSS Zamboanga City Branch on the ground of notorious negligence. The SSS reiterated all the statements written in the logbook which asserted the fact that the utility worker sustained an injury when he disregarded the instruction of his foreman not to touch or do something on the damaged part of the roof until his return.

On appeal, the ECC surmised that the logbook report did not reflect the true nature of the incident that resulted to the worker’s injuries. The action of the worker in climbing the roof does not even imply simple negligence. At most, the worker only miscalculated his action. Further, he did not climb the damaged roof voluntarily; instead, he was instructed by his foreman to accompany him in climbing the damaged roof. Thus, the said act could not be considered as notorious negligence.

The case was reversed and the ECC granted the utility worker’s claim for disability benefits plus reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical expenses that he incurred due to his fractures and dislocation of his right arm.

EC claims for sickness or injury resulting in disability or death are filed at the SSS for the private sector and the GSIS for public sector.