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Established in 1985, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT) is the final level of appeal to which workers and employers may bring disputes concerning workplace safety and insurance matters in Ontario. WSIAT has always been separate from and independent of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

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  Decision 588 16
3/24/2016
S. Martel

  • Permanent impairment {NEL} (physical or functional abnormality or loss)
  • Pleural plaque
  • Permanent impairment {NEL} (degree of impairment) (zero rating)

The Board allowed the worker entitlement for pleural plaques in 2008. It allowed entitlement for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 2011, and granted a 30% NEL rating within Class 3 of Table 8 of the AMA Guides. The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying a NEL assessment for the pleural plaques. Some Tribunal decisions have found that pleural plaques are a physical abnormality or loss, warranting a NEL assessment. However, the Vice-Chair noted that there is no information regarding the outcome of the NEL assessment. The Vice-Chair referred to Decision No. 2129/14, in which a worker was referred for a NEL rating for pleural plaques but was granted a zero NEL award on the basis of pulmonary function tests that came within Class 1 of Table 8, which is rated as 0%. That decision also noted that under s. 47(13) of the WSIA, a worker is deemed not to have a permanent impairment if the degree of permanent impairment is determined to be zero. In this case, the worker received a NEL rating for COPD in accordance with the AMA Guides. Even if the worker's pleural plaques were contributing to the worker's respiratory impairment, such impairment was already taken into account, albeit indirectly, in the NEL rating for the COPD claim. The worker was not entitled to an additional NEL assessment for the pleural plaques. The appeal was dismissed.