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 the following questions –

  1. is, or was, the worker suffering from pneumoconiosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer or diffuse pleural fibrosis?
  2. if so, is, or was, the worker thereby less able to earn full wages?
  3. to what extent if any does, or did
    1. pneumoconiosis
    2. mesothelioma
    3. lung cancer
    4. diffuse pleural fibrosis adversely affect the worker’s ability to undertake physical effort?
  4. what other, if any, disease or physical condition is, or was, contributing to the worker’s being less able to earn full wages, or death and to what extent?
  5. is, or was, the worker fit for work? If so, at what level – light, moderate, or heavy?
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 your condition, the Industrial Diseases Medical Panel (IDMP) makes a determination as to whether one of the four listed diseases is present. The IDMP’s determination is provided to you and your employer. The determination of the IDMP is final, conclusive and binding on both parties. There is no restriction on the number of appearances you may make before the IDMP. It is important to note that 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 you are not suffering from one of these four diseases, it does not imply that there is nothing wrong, nor does it prevent you 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 Industrial Diseases Medical Panel agrees, your determination may be made without an attendance. This applies only where a worker is unable to attend due to hospitalisation or distance.

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