Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 513 20
B. Kalvin
  • Second Injury and Enhancement Fund {SIEF} (preexisting condition)
  • Second Injury and Enhancement Fund {SIEF} (psychological condition)

The worker was a security guard who witnessed a young person commit suicide by jumping off a ledge. The worker developed as a result post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and received benefits for this condition.

In this appeal the employer was seeking SIEF relief on the basis of the worker's pre-existing psychological condition.
OPM Document No. 14-05-03 provides that in the case of psychological conditions, the employer does not have to demonstrate that a worker had a pre-existing condition as such: it is sufficient that the employer demonstrate that a worker was vulnerable to psychological injury due to prior psychic trauma resulting from life experience.
The employer submitted that the worker had a number of life factors which rendered the worker vulnerable including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, leukemia as a child and a skin cancer diagnosis seven months prior to the workplace injury; as well as anger and mental health issues. The employer referred in its submissions to Decision No. 1487/09 which granted the employer SIEF relief where the worker was diagnosed with PTSD.
The Vice-Chair referring to the Tribunal medical discussion paper on PTSD, distinguishing 1487/09, found that the worker's reaction to being summoned to an incident and then witnessing a young person commit suicide was not extreme or unexpected in the circumstances. Therefore, while the worker had a pre-existing condition in this case, it did not enhance or prolong the recovery of the compensable psychological condition.
The employer's appeal was denied.