Specified industrial diseases are listed in Schedule 3 of the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981.

Your responsibilities

If you believe you are suffering from a specified industrial disease, you should inform your employer and see a medical practitioner immediately.

Your employer’s obligations

It is the employer’s responsibility to notify WorkCover WA within seven days of discovering any worker is suffering from a specified industrial disease, under Schedule 3 of the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981.

What happens next?

You should make a claim for workers’ compensation. See the Making a claim section for more information.

Workers exposed to asbestos who have been diagnosed with the following industrial diseases are able to lodge a claim for compensation:

  • pneumoconiosis
  • mesothelioma
  • lung cancer
  • diffuse pleural fibrosis.

Once a claim is lodged a worker suffering from any of these four diseases is required to be examined by the Industrial Diseases Medical Panel. Given the complex nature of asbestos related workers’ compensation claims it is recommended workers obtain legal representation or seek information from an organisation supporting asbestos disease sufferers.

All claims for compensation in relation to pneumoconiosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer and diffuse pleural fibrosis are referred to the Industrial Diseases Medical Panel (IDMP) for determination. The IDMP is made up of physicians who specialise in diseases of the chest or occupational disease. The IDMP operates independently, with WorkCover WA providing administrative support and funding only.

The IDMP examines workers who may be adversely affected by pneumoconiosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer or diffuse pleural fibrosis to determine:

  • whether the worker suffered or is suffering from pneumoconiosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer or diffuse pleural fibrosis
  • whether the worker is or was less able to earn full wages due to the disease
  • the extent to which the disease adversely affected or currently affects the worker’s ability to undertake physical effort
  • whether any other disease or physical condition contributed or contributes to the worker being less able to earn full wages, or the worker’s death, and the extent of this contribution
  • whether the worker is or was fit for work and if so at what level.
When appearing before the Industrial Diseases Medical Panel (IDMP):

  • The worker is medically examined by the panel members.
  • Work history, medical history, medical evidence and symptoms are discussed with the worker.
  • The worker’s CT results and lung function tests are examined.
  • The worker may have a medical practitioner who has examined or treated him/her make oral submission to the IDMP.
Following the examination of the medical evidence provided and a review of the worker’s condition, the Industrial Diseases Medical Panel (IDMP) makes a determination as to whether one of the four listed diseases is present. This determination is final, conclusive and binding on both parties and a copy is provided to both the worker and employer. It is important to note that:

  • There is no restriction on the number of appearances the worker may make before the IDMP.
  • The IDMP can only make a determination regarding pneumoconiosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer and diffuse pleural fibrosis based on the available medical evidence.
  • If the IDMP determines the worker is not suffering from one of these four diseases, it does not imply that there is nothing wrong, nor does it prevent the worker from making a claim for other conditions which may be compensable under the provisions of the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981.

Determinations in absentia

Provided sufficient medical evidence has been supplied and the IDMP agrees, a determination may be made without a worker having to attend. This applies only where the worker is unable to attend due to hospitalisation or distance.

For general information on workers’ compensation and making a claim for an industrial disease, contact Advice and Assistance on 1300 794 744.