Conditions for Entitlement – Infectious Diseases Policy 21-109 | Effective Date: February 20, 2013

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to outline how WorkSafeNB gathers and weighs evidence during the adjudication of claims involving infectious diseases.

Scope

This policy applies to all claims for compensation involving infectious diseases.

Statements

1.0 General Statements

WorkSafeNB uses Section 7 of the Workers’ Compensation Act (WC Act) and Policy 21-100 Conditions for Entitlement – General Principles to adjudicate all claims for compensation involving a personal injury caused by accident arising out of and in the course of employment, including claims for infectious diseases.

The WC Act defines an accident as a:

  • Wilful and intentional act not being the act of the worker who suffers the accident;
  • Chance event or incident occasioned by a physical or natural cause;
  • Disablement caused by an occupational disease;
  • Disablement or disabling condition; or
  • Disablement from mental stress that is caused by an acute reaction to a traumatic event.

This policy provides direction for gathering and weighing information to determine whether or not disablements or disabling conditions caused by infectious diseases are compensable. WorkSafeNB uses the same process to adjudicate all claims, regardless of whether it is an acute injury, occupational disease, or infectious disease.

2.0 Infectious Diseases

Infectious diseases are diseases that can spread from one person to another either directly or indirectly and may be acquired through a variety of life situations. A person may be as likely to contract an infectious disease in a social or recreational situation, as they are at work. Examples include tuberculosis, influenza, or chicken pox.

To determine if an infectious disease arose out of and in the course of employment, evidence must show that the risk of contracting the disease through the employment is greater than the risk associated with contracting the disease through day to day living.

3.0 Gathering and Weighing Evidence

When determining if the disease arose out of and in the course of employment, WorkSafeNB may ask the following questions when gathering sufficient evidence upon which to base the decision:

  • Does the worker have a confirmed diagnosis of a specific infectious disease?
  • Was there confirmation that the disease was present in the workplace?
  • Was the worker exposed to the infectious disease in the workplace?
  • Does the evidence show that the worker was at a significantly greater risk of contracting the infectious disease due to their employment, than they would have been as a member of the general public?
  • Could the exposure have occurred outside the workplace?
  • Would the nature of the worker’s employment activities allow for the transmission of the infectious disease?
  • Was the incubation period of the infectious disease clinically compatible with the worker’s symptoms and timing of the disease?
  • Did the worker use personal protective equipment in the workplace?
  • Was there a documented community outbreak of this infectious disease?

Once WorkSafeNB is satisfied that sufficient information related to the claim has been gathered, it uses the process outlined in Policy 21-100 Conditions for Entitlement – General Principles to adjudicate the claim.

Policy 21-011 Federal Government Employees

Policy 21-100 Conditions for Entitlement – General Principles

Policy 21-104 Conditions for Entitlement – Tests of Time, Place and Activity.

Policy 21-111 Conditions for Entitlement – Occupational Diseases

Accident – includes a wilful and intentional act, not being the act of a worker, and also includes a chance event occasioned by a physical or natural cause, as well as a disablement caused by an occupational disease and any other disablement arising out of and in the course of employment, but does not include the disablement of mental stress or a disablement caused by mental stress, other than as an acute reaction to a traumatic event. (WC Act)

Appeals Tribunal – means the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal established under the WHSCC & WCAT Act.

Evidence to the contrary – any information that may suggest the accident or injury, including occupational disease, did not arise out of and in the course of employment.

Preponderance of evidence – the most persuasive and impressive information on one side of a case that outweighs the information on the other side. A preponderance of evidence is not decided on the quantity of information alone, but on the significance and strength of the evidence as well.

WorkSafeNB – means the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission or "the Commission" as defined by the WHSCC & WCAT Act.

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