Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 1771 14
R. McCutcheon
  • Psychotraumatic disability
  • Stress, mental
  • Work transition plan (suitability of program)

A butcher suffered a shoulder injury in 2008, for which he was granted a 12% NEL award. The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying entitlement for psychotraumatic disability, finding that the SO of other elemental occupations was appropriate for the worker and denying ongoing full LOE benefits.

The Board included both the traumatic mental stress policy and the psychotraumatic disability policy in its list of applicable policies for this appeal. The Vice-Chair stated that the traumatic mental stress policy was not applicable. It was likely included because there was a diagnosis from the worker's psychiatrist of post-traumatic stress disorder. However, the applicability of either the psychotraumatic disability policy or the traumatic mental stress policy does not on the diagnosis of the mental disorder but, rather, on the nature of the injuring process. The psychotraumatic disability policy applies if the psychiatric condition is related to a physical injury claim. The traumatic mental stress policy (and the mental stress provisions in s. 13(4) and (5) of the WSIA) applies to mental stress claims which are not associated with a workplace physical injury claim. In this case, the psychotraumatic disability policy was applicable because the claim for psychiatric entitlement was related to the physical shoulder injury.
On the evidence, the worker had entitlement for psychotraumatic disability. The SO identified by the Board was not appropriate for the worker. The worker was entitled to full LOE benefits to age 65.
The appeal was allowed.