Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 800 19
20/03/2020
R. McCutcheon - C. Sacco - K. Hoskin
  • Recurrences
  • Environmental hypersensitivity

On November 17, 2009, the worker reported redness, itching, burning and a bubbling rash on her neck, face, back, chest, abdomen, arms and legs, which she attributed to exposure to gun oil from a malfunctioning rivet tool. The WSIB granted initial entitlement for allergic airborne contact dermatitis but denied entitlement for associated LOE benefits.

On January 14, 2011, the worker stopped working, attributing a flare-up of her symptoms to the nature of the work offered by the employer. By that time, the worker reported symptoms which included rashes on her legs, groin, arms, neck, and back, respiratory symptoms, swelling around her eyes, and swelling of her throat. The worker claimed LOE benefits for this which were denied.
At the Tribunal the worker appealed entitlement for multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), a recurrence in 2011 of the 2009 work injury and associated LOE benefits
The Panel noted that the WSIB has not established any specific policy addressing entitlement for MCS; therefore, a worker's entitlement for MCS must be considered based upon general principles of causation and the evidence in the individual case.
As noted in Decision No. 977/05, MCS (IEI) is a controversial entity, both legally and medically. There is controversy about whether it represents a physical condition, a psychological condition, or a combination of both. There is also medical controversy about whether it is a true "diagnosis."
The Panel agreed with Decision No. 977/05 that entitlement under the WSIA requires an identifiable work-related injuring process: entitlement for MCS cannot be grounded on a worker's subjective belief of harm. The evidence must show a causal connection between a work-related injuring process and the development of the worker's medical condition.
The Panel found that the available medical reporting in this appeal was comprehensive and persuasive; and though some of the opinions were not based on direct examination of the worker, these same opinions did have the benefit of reviewing the full record and evaluating the information objectively. On the other hand the worker's treating practitioners largely relied upon the worker's self-report and offered little in the way of expert medical explanation or identification of a workplace injuring process. The Panel found the worker's self-report was inaccurate, and, therefore, was an unreliable basis upon which to premise a medical opinion on causation.
Entitlement for benefits for MCS or a recurrence of symptoms in January 2011, was denied. Consequently there was no entitlement for associated LOE benefits.