Autopsy Examination Services

The Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act (Act 78 of 1973) makes provision for the autopsy examination of the cardio-respiratory organs of deceased persons who are or were employed at controlled mines or works, regardless of the clinical cause of death. The Pathology Division undertakes these examinations on behalf of the Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases and the findings are considered by the Certification Committee for Occupational Diseases. About 2,500 autopsies are performed annually, resulting in benefit payments totaling millions of rand.

The Medical Practitioner who last attended a deceased miner, ex-miner or worker from a controlled works (such as Iscor) is legally obliged to remove the cardio respiratory organs from the body and send them to the NIOH for examination (unless relatives refuse permission).

The NIOH provides the facility for transportation of the organs from mortuaries, mines and hospitals. However, full autopsy examinations are performed at the NIOH mortuary on miners and ex-miners who die in and around Johannesburg.

The findings of the pathological examinations are reported to the Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases where the certifying committee interprets these findings in conjunction with the occupational history, and determines whether compensation should be paid to dependents of the deceased.

AutopsyCardio-respiratory organs submitted to the NIOH for benefit examination are transported in red lung containers supplied by the NIOH to mortuaries, hospitals and mines, cost will be paid by NIOH.

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Compensation may be awarded for diseases such as:

  • Pneumoconiosis e.g. Silicosis, Asbestosis
  • Emphysema
  • Malignant mesothelioma
  • Tuberculosis
  • Lung Cancer