Prevention of work-related diseases is vital

Published 09 Sep 2015

Depending on the industry or sector in which you operate, you could be exposed to a number of diseases and other work-related hazards. These can have a serious impact on your life and ability to fund yourself, prompting a total permanent disability or income protection claim.

As such, the challenge involved in a superannuation dispute usually revolves around whether your occupation played a significant role in your health issues. However, Safe Work Australia's decision to publish a new list of these problems should provide clarity in future cases.

The Deemed Diseases in Australia report is collaborative result between scientific evidence and work completed by epidemiology and occupational medicine professionals.

Safe Work Australia Chief Executive Officer Michelle Baxter explained that many diseases weren't listed originally and of those that were, the information isn't relevant anymore. 

"Compared to work-related injuries, it is more difficult to prove that a disease was contracted in, or caused by, particular employment," she said in an August 31 media statement.

"So most Australian jurisdictions have special provisions in their workers' compensation legislation deeming certain specified occupational diseases as being caused by specified work related (sic) activities."

Professor Tim Driscoll noted the importance of preventing workplace accidents moving forward.

"While the report was developed primarily for use by jurisdictions, Safe Work Australia agreed to publish the report as it provides useful evidence-based information for anyone involved in the prevention or compensation of occupational disease," he said.

Of course, this list isn't exhaustive and the authority plans to update the diseases and injuries in the near future as new scientific evidence is confirmed. 

Multiple chronic diseases - a national issue

This type of document should help both businesses, workers and others involved in the superannuation process reduce the number of Australians that struggle with chronic diseases. A recent article looked into the fact that 50 per cent of Australians have chronic diseases, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

In fact, 20 per cent of the population is contending with at least two, based on information released by AIHW in early August.

"Sometimes these diseases occur together simply by chance, but often it's because there are some associations between them, such as shared risk factors," AIHW spokesperson Louise York explained.

Given the damage that workplace diseases and injuries can do to someone's life, it is important that all parties work together to ensure the best outcome for Australia's workforce.

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