Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 366 14
R. McCutcheon - B. Wheeler - M. Ferrari
  • Aggravation (preexisting condition) (cardiac condition)
  • Arising out of employment (work relatedness test)
  • Dizziness
  • Second Injury and Enhancement Fund {SIEF} (preexisting condition)
  • Board Directives and Guidelines (SIEF) (one hundred per cent relief)

The worker suffered a shoulder injury in August 2009, in a fall from a ladder. The employer appealed regarding granting of initial entitlement to the worker and denial of SIEF relief to the employer. The worker appealed denial of entitlement for aggravation of a pre-existing heart condition.

On the evidence, the Panel found that the worker had been experiencing symptoms of dizziness which required medical investigation and time off prior to the accident. Further, the fall from the ladder was caused by an episode of dizziness, which was related either to the worker's pre-existing heart condition or to heart medication.
Looking at Tribunal decisions as a whole, a worker is not disentitled even if it is shown that a non-compensable pre-existing condition caused or contributed to an accident. In this case, the fact that the worker was on the ladder for a work-related purpose undisputedly played a role in the injuries he sustained. The injuries would not have been as severe had he not fallen from a ladder. Tribunal case law and Board policy support a conclusion that workers are entitled to benefits for injuries arising from such accidents, although they are not entitled to benefits for the underlying condition.
The Panel concluded that the worker suffered a personal injury by accident arising out of and in the course of employment. The Board properly granted initial entitlement for the injuries resulting from the accident.
Board policy provides for full relief from the costs of a claim when a prior non-work-related condition is the cause of the accident. In this case, the pre-existing condition caused the fall from the ladder. But for the episode of dizziness, he would not have had an accident. Accordingly, the employer was entitled to full cost relief under the SIEF policy.
Evidence did not indicate that the accident caused or contributed to worsening of the worker's cardiac condition. Any worsening of his condition was related to natural progression of his symptoms, not to the compensable accident. The worker did not have entitlement for aggravation of his pre-existing heart condition.
The employer's appeal was allowed in part. The worker's appeal was dismissed.