Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 2806 16
B. Kalvin - S. Sahay - K. Hoskin
  • Board Directives and Guidelines (cancer) (gastrointestinal)
  • Cancer (esophagus)
  • Exposure (asbestos)

The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying the worker entitlement for esophageal cancer.

From 1974 to 1983, the worker worked for a company that manufactured turbines. During that period, from 1974 to 1976 he was a pipefitter, from 1976 to 1980 he was a steel fitter, and from 1980 to 1983 he was a supervisor. After 1983, he worked in other areas. He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2008 and died in 2009.
Board policy on gastro-intestinal cancer in workers with asbestos exposure provides that claims for gastro-intestinal cancer in asbestos workers are favourable considered if there is clear and adequate history of exposure to asbestos dust that is of a continuous and repetitive nature and that represents or is a manifestation of the major component of the occupational activity, and there is a 20-year latency period between first exposure and diagnosis.
There was evidence from an occupational hygienist that, from 1974 to 1976 the worker was routinely exposed to high levels of fibrous particles that possibly contained asbestos, and that the 1976 to 1980, he was occasionally exposed to moderate to high levels of asbestos.
The Panel found it more likely than not that the high levels of fibrous particles to which the worker was routinely exposed between 1974 and 1976 did contain asbestos. During that time, the worker was working as a pipefitter installing cutting and removing pipe installations. Asbestos was commonly used at that time as insulation for pipes. This period preceded the promulgation of Ontario asbestos regulations. The Panel also found that the exposure during this period was of a continuous and repetitive nature and that it was a manifestation of the major component of the worker's daily activity. In addition, there was further exposure from 1976 to 1980. The worker also met the latency requirement of the Board policy.
The worker met the requirements of the policy. Accordingly, the cancer was presumed to be caused by workplace asbestos exposure. The appeal was allowed.