Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 2533 17
A. Patterson - M. Lipton - C. Salama
  • Cancer (lung)
  • Exposure (radiation)
  • Mining (uranium)

The worker was a uranium mine mechanic from 1957 to mid-1963. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2005, at age 74. The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying entitlement for the lung cancer.

Board Operational Policy Manual, Document No. 22-02-23, on lung cancer among workers in the uranium mining industry, provides that a radiation index of at least 100 for workers diagnosed at age 65 or older is persuasive evidence that the lung cancer is work-related.
The worker worked first as a slusher repairman. From 1962 to mid-1963, he worked in an underground shop fixing various machines. The Board found that the worker's total WLMs for the years 1957 to 1962 was 122.31. A weighting factor of 0.5 was applied because the exposure occurred more than 15 years prior to diagnosis. The resulting calculated index value was 61.16, which did not meet the required standard of 100 WLMs.
The Panel noted that the Board calculations did not include an entry for the last six months of the worker's employment. The Panel found that it was appropriate to add a reasonable estimate to the calculation to reflect exposure to ionizing radiation in 1963. Based on the average of the worker's WLMs for the full years from 1958 to 1962, which was 23.306, the worker likely had exposure in 1963 for 11.65 WLMs.
In addition, the Panel found that the worker's occupation as a slusher repairman during the first four years, required him to work in the least well-ventilated parts of the mine. Special WLMs should be used for those years, resulting in total exposure for those years of 171.72 WLMs.
The total of the special WLMs of 171.72 for the years from 1958 through 1961, the regular WLMs of 57.55 for 1962 and 1963, and the additional 11.65 WLMs for the first half of 1963, resulted in total exposure of 240.92. Applying the 0.5 weighting factor, the worker's total radiation index was 120.46, which was above the standard in Board policy of 100 WLMs.
The worker met the exposure criteria in Board policy. He had entitlement for the lung cancer. The appeal was allowed.