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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 3125 17
8/5/2020
M. Crystal - M. Trudeau - M. Ferrari

  • Board Directives and Guidelines (psychotraumatic disability)
  • Brain damage
  • Evidence (weight)
  • Psychotraumatic disability

The worker was a railway worker. In January 2004, a hydraulic rail puller was used to attempt to repair a broken rail. One of the pins in the device popped out from the hydraulic cylinder at extremely high pressure and struck him in the face, causing him to sustain a fractured cheekbone. The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying entitlement for psychotraumatic disability on the basis that he sustained a traumatic brain injury as a result of the work accident that occurred at that time.
The Panel found it probable that the worker sustained a traumatic brain injury as a result of the January 2004 accident.
The medical information prepared in the period immediately subsequent to the accident did not indicate that the worker sustained a traumatic brain injury. The first medical information which suggested that the worker might possibly have sustained a traumatic brain injury was a report in February 2006, from a psychiatrist who saw the worker at the REC. It appeared that the psychiatrist raised the possibility that the worker had sustained a brain injury as a result of his accident on his own initiative and assessment, without prompting by any aspect of the worker's referral to him. The Panel attributed greater weight to this report in these circumstances than might have been the case if it had been suggested to the psychiatrist that he look into the question of whether the worker had sustained a brain injury.
There were many reports from various doctors and institutions that were equivocal, as well as a report from a doctor who was not supportive of the claim that the worker suffered a brain injury. The Panel reviewed the medical evidence in detail and gave reasons for preferring some evidence over other evidence.
The Panel concluded that the worker had entitlement for psychotraumatic disability on the basis that he sustained an organic brain syndrome secondary to a traumatic head injury, in keeping with Board Operational Policy Manual, Document No. 15-04-02, on psychotraumatic disability.
The appeal was allowed.