The Victoria Parliament has enacted The Workplace Safety Legislation and Other Matters Amendment Act 2022 to address some of the systematic barriers that have arisen as a result of the recent wave of workers suffering from silicosis and similar occupational diseases which are progressive in nature.
The changes come into effect on 1 July 2022.
The new laws will apply to workers diagnosed on or after 1 June 2016 as suffering from an eligible progressive disease. The list of eligible progressive diseases was released on 30 June 2022.
The current Eligible Progressive Diseases list includes:
Impairment benefit lump sum payments can be made to injured workers suffering from eligible progressive diseases that have not stabilised. This is a positive step for workers suffering from eligible progressive diseases whose condition may never stabilise.
Further impairment benefit claim
Injured workers suffering from eligible progressive diseases who experience deterioration of 10% or more whole-person impairment will be able to bring a subsequent impairment benefit claim. This is a positive step for workers suffering from eligible progressive diseases as it recognises the progressive nature of their condition and enables them to obtain further compensation to reflect the severity of their condition.
Subsequent Common Law claim for serious silica-related diseases
Injured workers suffering from silica related diseases will now be entitled to make a further common law claim for damages if they develop a subsequent silica related disease such as silica related lung cancer.
Injured workers who undergo a lung transplant will be deemed to have suffered a minimum 30% whole-person impairment. In effect this means workers who have undergone a lung transplant will receive a significant impairment benefit lump sum and will then be deemed to have suffered a serious injury allowing them to pursue a Common Law claim for damages.
Family counselling entitlement changes
Family members of workers diagnosed with work-related eligible progressive diseases will now be able to access family counselling services up to the amount of $6,820.00.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Maurice Blackburn’s Dust and Occupational Diseases Department on 8102 2164.
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