First responder PTSD presumed work related
The real heroes of the last twelve months have undoubtedly been our first responders. Through bushfires, floods and now COVID-19, first responders have faced devastating and often traumatising situations. It is the exposure to those situations and the psychiatric injury that often flows from that exposure that is the focus of the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill. This Bill seeks to reduce the difficulties in proving entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits by reversing the onus of proof for compensation for first responders diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If the Bill is passed in its current form, there will be a presumption that PTSD diagnosed in certain first responders was caused by their employment.
A survey conducted by Beyond Blue in 2018 found that first responders lodged compensation claims for mental health or psychological injuries at a rate ten times higher than the adult Australian workforce. The proposed amendments recognise that the cumulative exposure to trauma in first responders makes it difficult for those workers to pinpoint a single event that contributed to their condition, which can result in delays and unnecessary investigations during the claim acceptance process and consequent delays in the provision of necessary treatment.
Key changes to the WCRA:
Key changes to the WCRR:
The Bill has been referred to the Education, Employment and Small Business Committee. We will keep you up to date regarding the progress of this Bill.
For further information or discussion, please contact a member of our Insurance team.