The Victorian Government has made it easier for workers impacted by deadly crystalline silica dust to get the care and support they need by streamlining access to compensation.
Lung cancer caused by silicosis and scleroderma has been added to Victoria’s list of proclaimed diseases. Proclaimed diseases are automatically deemed to be caused by the nature of a worker’s employment.
It means stonemasons and others working with engineered stone who contract either of these conditions will no longer have the onus of proving that they were injured at work to be eligible for compensation.
The above will ensure injured workers and their dependents get more straightforward and faster access to entitlements, including medical expenses and payments for lost wages and pain and suffering.
Silicosis itself is already a proclaimed disease in Victoria for workers exposed to the inhalation of crystalline silica dust.
The change will allow any affected worker or dependents to retrospectively submit a new claim for injuries suffered since Victoria’s workplace injury compensation scheme commenced in 1985.
The decision to make silicosis and scleroderma proclaimed diseases are part of the Victorian Government’s comprehensive silica action plan. This plan also includes a ban on dry cutting, a strict new compliance code for businesses, and the development of Australia’s first licensing scheme for engineered stone, a specialist WorkSafe team focused on silica-related hazards and campaigns to highlight the risks of working with engineered stone.
More than 85 per cent of Victoria’s estimated 1,400 past and present stonemasons have also now registered for WorkSafe’s free silica health assessment program, which includes testing for auto-immune conditions such as scleroderma.
A fast-tracked compensation process is in place for affected workers and their families so they can get the personalised treatment and support they need.
Read more here – https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/crystalline-silica
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