Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 1613 22
C. Huras - P. Greenside - C. Salama
  • Death (maintenance of claim by estate)
  • Exposure (asbestos)
  • Cancer (kidney)

The issue under appeal was whether the worker, through his estate, was entitled to benefits for rectal cancer as an occupational disease arising out of and in the course of his employment.

The appeal was allowed.
The Panel found that the worker's claim met the entitlement criteria set out in Board policy. The worker was diagnosed with rectal cancer approximately 47 years after his first exposure to asbestos in 1968. Therefore, the worker met the latency period of a minimal interval of 20 years before the first exposure to asbestos and the diagnosis of rectal cancer required by Board policy.
The point of contention was whether the worker's occupational exposure was "repetitive" such that it "should represent or be a manifestation of the major component of the occupational activity." This appeal turned on the interpretation of OPM Document No. 16-02-11. It was noted that the policy language in this Board policy raises a number of questions with how to interpret the exposure requirements. The Panel considered a paper entitled "Interpretation of Policy 16-02-11, Gastro-Intestinal Cancer Asbestos Exposure" and Decisions No. 144/12 and 2806/16 in its decision. The Panel concluded that the worker's OHCOW reports supported a finding that the worker's occupational exposure to asbestos was continuous and repetitive for 13.9 years of employment, and was a major component of his occupational activity, in accordance with the guidelines provided by the 2009 Research Paper for the interpretation of OPM Document No. 16-02-11.