Employers Liability For Compensation-Workmen Compensation Act
Employers Liability For Compensation-Workmen Compensation Act

Employers Liability For Compensation-Workmen Compensation Act



  1. Introduction
  2. Employer’s Liability For Compensation
  3. Personal Injury
  4. Disability
  5. Accidents arising from and during the course of employment
  6. Occupational diseases
  7. Cases where an employer is not liable for compensation
  8. The doctrine of notional extension of employment
  9. Case law
  10. Conclusion


  1. Introduction

The Workmen Compensation Act, 1923 has made it the responsibility of the employer to provide compensations to workers under them who fall as victims of accidents within the course of employment. This is regardless of the degree of the accident that could have either led to disablement or even death of a worker. The employer stands liable to that. This is the social and economic security granted to workmen.

Workmen Commissioners have been given the mandate to establish the amount of compensation required according to the degree of the accident whenever an application for a compensation is made.


  1. Employer’s Liability For Compensation-

S.3(1) holds the employer liable to pay a compensation to a workman when:

  1. A personal injury is attained by the workman.
  2. An accident is the cause of the injury.
  • The accident occurred out of and during the course of employment.
  1. The effects of the injury upon the workman is either death, permanent or temporary disablement or total or partial disablement.
  2. There is an employment relationship.


  1. Personal Injury

The Act provides that the injuries bracketed as personal injury include physical, bodily and mental injury and occupational disease.

  1. Disability

Disability is the unfitness to work that results from personal injury during the course of employment. There are four types of disabilities, namely:

  1. Permanent disability: The ability to work is no longer present forever and can never be regained.
  2. Temporary disability: The ability to work is lost only for some time. It is subject to transition and can be regained.
  • Total disability: Totally lost the capacity to work.
  1. Partial disability: Capacity to work is partially lost.

Death is the greatest effect of an accident. In the event of death, the workman’s dependants have the right to claim the compensation.


  1. Accidents arising from and during the course of employment

This endeavours to explain the meaning of ‘arising out of employment’ which is likely to either be misunderstood or understood partially. Besides meaning that the injury occurred as a result of the activities of the employment, it also means that the injury does not necessarily have to be connected directly to the results of the accident.


  1. Cases where an employer is not liable for compensation

The following conditions provide cases where employers are not liable for the compensation of a workman:

  1. When an injury does not lead to the total or partial disablement of the workman for a duration that goes for more than 3 days.
  2. When an injury which did not lead to death that was triggered by an accident is as a result of:
  3. The influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident.
  4. Intentional defiance of a rule that was made to ensure the safety of all workmen.
  • Doing away with a safety equipment intentionally that had been provided for the safety of the workman.

Employers are able to unhook themselves from the responsibility of compensation if they are able to prove the above mentioned cases in the event of a workman’s injury. However, regardless of the stated conditions, an employer is liable to pay the compensation if the workman dies.

  1. Occupational disease

Certain occupations expose workers to particular diseases. These diseases are inherent. For instance, workers in the textile mills and cigarette factories are prone to contracting Tuberculosis.

  1. 3(2) provides that an occupational disease is termed to be an accidental injury. This also holds the employer responsible for the compensation of a workman who has contracted a disease that can be directly attributed to a particular injury through an accident that resulted or occurred during employment.


  1. The doctrine of Notional Extension of Employment

The theory of Notional Extension was executed by S.C. in:

  1. Sourashtra Salt Mfg. Co. V/S Bai Bula Raja, AIR 1958 S.C. 881

The Supreme Court ruled that there are situations whereby an employer will have to account for the injury of the workmen even if the workman was not within the premises when the accident occurred.

  1. Works Manager and Wagon Shop E.I.R v/s Mahabir, AIR 1954 ALL. 32

The employer was liable in a case whereby one of the workmen was run over by an engine and was injured. The workshop was located quite a distance from the railway station. The workers have to cross a railway line before reaching the factory more preferably than using a different sub-way.


Case Laws-

Moondra & Co. v/s Mst. Bhawani.

A truck owner employed a driver to drive a petrol tanker. However the driver discovered a leak in the tank and sought for the permission of the owner to enter into the tank and look for the source of the leak. The driver lit a matchstick which then caused a fire in the tank. Having received burn injuries, the driver died. The ruling was that the dependents of the driver are entitled to a compensation since the accident occurred out of employment.

Bhayabhai v/s Central Railway, AIR 1955, BOM. 105.

A workman in the railway had a job that entailed repairing clocks at different stations. While on his way to repair a clock in one of the stations, the workman was stabbed and died eventually. The court ruled that the death of the workman was as a result of an accident that happened in the line of employment.


  • Arya Muni v/s Union of India & Others, ILJ Pg 94 All. H.C.

A spark hit the eye of a worker in a factory that led to the losing of his eye. There was a notice written in English that ordered all workers to put on goggles while working in the factory. The goggles were in stock as it was later stated by the employer. He further said that the workman did not ask for them and that is why none of the goggles was supplied to him by his superior. However, the workman said that he did not understand English and he had requested to be given goggles but none was supplied. The ruling concluded that the workman had not disobeyed the factory rule intentionally. He is therefore liable to claim for a compensation.


  • Conclusion

An Employer’s liability for compensation is subject to the Workmen Compensation Act, 1923. It goes on to give the conditions whereby employers are liable to the compensation of workers who have sustained injuries by accidents in the line and work and even outside the premises of employment.



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