WSIB decision overturned for recurring mental stress

He was a train operator. Several years ago, he saw a person jump to their
death on the tracks. The following year, he had to respond to a narrowly
averted suicide.

After both incidents, the WSIB allowed the worker’s claims for
traumatic mental stress. The worker returned to work both times, after
medical treatment.

The worker witnessed another suicide attempt. He was off work for
three weeks, having suffered a relapse in symptoms. The WSIB, however,
didn’t consider the third incident to be compensable.

The worker’s representative objected, saying the WSIB hadn’t properly
applied its recurrence policy or considered the medical evidence.
According to the case manager, there hadn’t been a new incident, and
there was no medical continuity between the latest incident and the
earlier two.

The worker’s representative argued that the WSIB recurrence policy
does not require a new significant traumatic incident. He also noted
that the treating physician’s medical reports documented significant
deterioration due to the third incident.

The Commission contacted a WSIB manager, who reiterated the case
manager’s reasons for turning down the claim. The Commission then
spoke with an assistant director. That’s when the claim went back for
further review.

After the review, the WSIB recognized that the third incident caused
a recurrence of work-related mental health problems that began after
the first incident. The WSIB determined that clinical compatibility had, in
fact, been established between the events and that the worker’s condition
deteriorated following the third event.

The WSIB overturned its decision and the worker was allowed
entitlement to benefits including medical treatment for the recurrence