Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 1145 20
06/01/2021
R. Nairn
  • Second Injury and Enhancement Fund {SIEF} (preexisting condition) (predisposition)
  • Second Injury and Enhancement Fund {SIEF} (severity of accident)

The employer appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer finding that the employer was entitled to 0% SIEF relief related to an accident in April 2018.

On April 26, 2018 the worker was working in the employer's shop when there was a fatal accident involving a co-worker. The worker was the first person to arrive on the scene of the accident and. He found the co-worker with a large slab of marble over him. As a result of witnessing these events, the worker developed a psychological reaction. The Board granted the worker entitlement for post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Board found that the worker's accident was of major severity and that he had a pre-existing condition of minor medical significance. In accordance with the chart in Board Operational Policy Manual, Document No. 14-05-03, the Board found that the employer was entitled to 0% SIEF relief.
The Vice-Chair agreed with the Board that the accident was of major severity. This was a worker, employed as a material handler who found his co-worker friend pinned and unresponsive beneath a large slab of marble. This was not the type of situation that worker would be expected to find himself in the course of his employment as a material handler. In addition, the fact that the second person on the scene may not have filed a claim, did not take away from the impact these events could reasonably be expected to have on the worker, who was the first to come across his injured friend.
The Vice-Chair also agreed with the Board that the pre-existing condition was of minor medical significance. There was evidence of prior psychic trauma from life experience that could be considered evidence of vulnerability. However, the symptoms related to this had subsided and were not producing any marked impairment at time of the incident. While the prior psychic trauma may have rendered the worker more likely to develop a psychiatric disability of greater severity than a normal person, the prior psychic trauma left the worker only slightly more likely to develop those symptoms. As such, the pre-existing condition was of minor medical significance.
The appeal was dismissed.