Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
Frontline and emergency-response workers and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will have easier access to workers’ compensation benefits starting from October 26, 2018, as changes to the Workers’ Compensation Act introduced last year no longer requires these workers to prove that their PTSD diagnosis is work-related.
The Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB) of Nova Scotia has streamlined access to mental-health related benefits and established a dedicated team of case workers to better meet the needs of those with psychological workplace injuries, including PTSD. Over the next year, WCB will also develop and evidence-based PTSD prevention program in collaboration with first responders.
“By the very nature of their jobs, some workers are exposed to traumatic and violent events, which can have a lasting impact on both their physical and mental health,” says Stuart Mclean, chief executive officer at WCB Nova Scotia. “These changes will help frontline and emergency response workers get the care and support they need quicker and more easily.”
Eligible workers include police, paid and volunteer firefighters, paramedics, nurses, correctional officers (including youth workers in a correctional facility), continuing care assistants, emergency-response dispatchers and sheriffs covered by the board. PTSD must be diagnosed by a psychiatrist or registered psychologist, and eligible workers who received a PTSD diagnosis on or after October 23, 2013 can refile a claim if they were denied benefits in the past.”
The working world is becoming more complex and the way our frontline people handle the stress and trauma that they see and feel affects everyone differently. Suffering in silence is not the answer anymore. The need to hide the fact that a frontline worker would be diagnosed with PTSD is no longer the case.
I was also glad to hear that the province has decided to make this retroactive to October, 2013. I do not know why that particular date was chosen but the PTSD patients from the first responders and frontline workers can get the help they so desperately need.
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.