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Established in 1985, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT) is the final level of appeal to which workers and employers may bring disputes concerning workplace safety and insurance matters in Ontario. WSIAT has always been separate from and independent of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

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  Decision 1542 15
11/23/2015
E. Smith

  • Recurrences (compensable injury)
  • Second accident

The worker suffered low back injuries in 1989 and 1990. The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying amalgamation of the claims.
A worker can have continued symptoms, and even a permanent impairment award, resulting from one accident and then suffer a second accident to the same body area that worsens the worker's condition. If there has been a new accident, the worsened symptoms are properly adjudication as a new accident under a new claim.
According to Board policy, a recurrence may result from an insignificant new accident or when there is no new accident. Thus, if a worker's symptoms from a prior accident deteriorate over time, the worsened symptoms will be attributed to the prior accident. If a worker is suffering from a deterioration of a prior injury but experiences the worsened symptoms while doing new workplace tasks, the Board will need to determine if the new workplace duties have been a significant contributing factor in the deteriorated symptoms, this is, whether there has been a new accident, or whether the deteriorated symptoms should be compensated as a recurrence of the prior claim.
In this case, the 1990 accident, in which chunks of rock hit the worker and knocked his backwards, pinning him against machinery, was a significant contributing factor in the worsened symptoms experienced by the worker. The Board correctly considered the worsened symptoms to be the result of a new accident.
The appeal was dismissed.