Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 1664 19
22/03/2021
E. Smith - C. Sacco - S. Roth
  • Apportionment (occupational disease)
  • Chronic obstructive lung disease
  • Exposure (dust)
  • Exposure (fumes)
  • Smoking
  • Board Directives and Guidelines (chronic obstructive lung disease)

The worker, a smoker, was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 2009. The Board denied the worker's claim for entitlement based on various workplace exposures.

The worker's appeal was allowed. Although the smoking was likely an important cause of the COPD, it was also likely that the workplace exposures were a significant contributing factor. Based on the evidence and the opinion of the Tribunal's appointed Assessor, the cumulative dust exposure was 33 mg/m3. This was below the level of 40 mg/m3 at which the Board's COPD Binder recognized entitlement for occupational exposure. However, although the threshold level was not met, the evidence of the Assessor was that the combined occupational exposure to vapor, gases, dust and fumes would have put the worker at a risk for COPD that would have been equivalent to or higher than the level of 40 mg/m3 dust exposure.
No apportionment was to be made for the smoking. Tribunal Decisions have found that when COPD is compensable, the benefit entitlement may not be apportioned between smoking and the occupational exposures.