The Government’s announcement comes after significant industry lobbying, including from Shine’s National Dust Disease Practice Leader Roger Singh, to reduce the burden on workers accessing vital compensation.
The changes mean stonemasons and others working with engineered stone with either condition will be automatically deemed to have contracted the condition through their employment, rather than having to prove their injury occurred due to work.
Scleroderma from silica exposure: Denis Hardy’s story
Denis Hardy developed scleroderma through exposure to silica dust through the course of his employment.
“I have been suffering from this devastating disease as a consequence of my own past silica dust exposure which has devastated my health and wellbeing,” says Denis.
Shine Lawyers Dust Disease client Denis Hardy (Image credit: Tim Carrafa)
As silica-induced scleroderma wasn’t formally recognised in Victoria as a proclaimed disease, Denis and Shine’s Dust Disease team had to fight relentlessly for WorkSafe Victoria to recognise Denis’ condition was a result of his previous employment and related exposure.
Now, Denis is pleased other affected workers won’t have to go through what he endured.
“This change in legislation will make it easier for workers with this disease to access compensation entitlements a lot easier and with greater speed than before,” says Denis.
More work to be done for sufferers of silica-induced scleroderma in Victoria
National Dust Disease Practice Leader Roger Singh has commended the Victorian government for the changes, describing it as a win for workers and their families.
“It will enable those who have worked with silica and developed scleroderma with silicosis to have their condition automatically accepted as an injury under the Workers Compensation Act,” says Roger.
The changes, he says, will reduce the obstacles preventing workers suffering from silica-induced lung cancer and scleroderma from accessing their compensation entitlements.
Even so, Roger believes the changes still need to go further. Currently, Victorian workers who have been exposed to silica dust at work and have since developed scleroderma independent of silicosis won’t have the link between their work and condition automatically recognised.
“Although we commend the state government’s announcements, workers with scleroderma in the absence of silicosis should not be discriminated against,” says Roger.
He plans to write to the Victorian government to ensure stonemasons and other silica-exposed workers can access much-needed compensation.
Suffering from a silica-induced disease? How Shine Lawyers can help
Roger and Shine Lawyers’ team of Dust Disease compensation experts possess significant experience in handling silicosis and silica-related disease claims. Recognised as the leading dust disease lawyers by industry groups including Doyles Guide, they have helped countless workers to access justice and compensation.
If you or a loved one has silicosis, silica-induced scleroderma or silica-induced lung cancer, we may be able to assist you access your legal entitlements.
If you have questions about the claim process or your legal rights, please contact us online to arrange a free, no-obligation chat with one of our Dust Disease experts.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: June 21, 2021.