Here are some words and phrases commonly used in the asbestos compensation scheme.
You can read more definitions in the Asbestos-Related Diseases (Occupational Exposure) Compensation Act 2011 (external link).
An asbestos-related disease is a medical condition that is attributable to a person having been exposed to asbestos.
A person has a compensable disease if they have an asbestos-related disease and the contraction of that disease is reasonably attributable to exposure to asbestos as a worker during a relevant employment period connected with Tasmania.
Evidence of occupational history
Evidence of a person’s occupational history means evidence of employment of a person, a relevant employment period, a relevant exposure period, the type of work performed and or the name of asbestos to which the person may have been exposed.
Evidence that may be provided for a person’s occupational history includes (but is not limited to):
- payslips, group certificates, or other documents, evidencing employment during a relevant employment period and a relevant exposure period
- statements of witnesses in relation to employment of the worker and or possible exposure of the worker to asbestos
- memberships, licences or qualifications
- statutory declarations or affidavits, sworn by the person, or another person as to employment by the worker in an occupation during a relevant exposure period.
Imminently fatal asbestos-related disease
An imminently fatal asbestos-related disease is one where the relevant person has a prognosis of less than 2 years life expectancy.
If your claim for compensation is accepted, the Asbestos Compensation Commissioner will pay reasonable medical expenses which may include:
- attendance, examination or treatment of any kind by a medical practitioner, dentist, physiotherapist or psychologist
- provision, maintenance, adjustment or replacement of medical or surgical aids or curative appliances or apparatus
- medicines or materials provided by a pharmacist
- any examination, test or analysis carried out at the request of a medical practitioner, dentist, physiotherapist or psychologist
- the provision of a report or certificate in respect of an examination, test, or analysis.
Other medical expenses that may be paid by the Commissioner include hospital services, nursing services, ambulance services, constant attendance services or rehabilitation services.
Member of the family
A member of the family means a:
- spouse, or
- a child of the person, including an adopted child, who has not attained the age of 22 years. A stepchild may also be nominated as a member of the family in certain circumstances.
Non-imminently fatal asbestos-related disease
A non-imminently fatal asbestos-related disease is one where the relevant person has prognosis of more than two years life expectancy.
Relevant employment period
A relevant employment period means a continuous period of employment of a person as a worker by an employer from the day on which the person is employed to the day on which that employment ceases.
Relevant exposure period
A relevant exposure period means a period during a relevant employment period in which is reasonably likely that a person was exposed to asbestos in the course of employment as a worker.
A spouse includes:
- a person to whom the person is or was, immediately before their death, married; and
- a person with whom a person is or was, immediately before their death, in a significant relationship. Within the meaning of the Relationships Act 2003, a significant relationship is a relationship between two adults who have a relationship as a couple, and who are not married to one another or related by family.
State of connection
To be eligible for compensation, the exposure to asbestos which is related to your asbestos-related disease must have been connected with Tasmania.
If a worker 'usually' performed their job in particular state or territory, then their employment is deemed to be connected with that jurisdiction.
However, a worker may also be eligible if they were usually based in Tasmania for the purposes of work, or where Tasmania was their employer's principal place of business. So, even if a worker happened to be outside Tasmania when (occupationally) exposed to asbestos, compensation may be payable as long as the worker's employment was connected with Tasmania.
When deciding whether a worker usually worked in Tasmania, the worker's occupational history will be considered.
To be entitled to compensation under the Asbestos Related Diseases (Occupational Exposure) Compensation Act 2011, a person must be or have been a worker as defined under the legislation at the time of exposure to asbestos. You are still defined as a worker if you have retired.
A person is a worker if the person is engaged or works under a contract of service or training contract with an employer.
Certain people are also deemed to be workers under the Act. They include:
- taxi drivers and hire-car drivers where they drive the vehicle with the consent or authority of a person who holds the licence or authority in Tasmania to operate the vehicle. This does not apply to a driver where the driver is also the holder of the licence or authority
- people engaged in plying for hire vehicles or vessels, where the use of the vehicle or vessel is obtained from the owner under a contract
- jockeys and apprentice jockeys
- ministers of religion
- volunteers engaged in fire-fighting or fire prevention operations
- volunteers engaged in providing ambulance services
- police volunteers.
Other people and volunteers may also be prescribed to be workers.
Certain people are not workers. These include people:
- employed as outworkers
- employed in employment of a casual nature other than for the purposes of the employer's trade or business
- employed as a member of a fishing boat who is remunerated wholly or mainly by share in the profits of gross earnings in respect of that boat
- participating in an approved program of work for unemployment payment under the Social Security Act 1991 (Commonwealth)
- who are Commonwealth employees when relevant exposure to asbestos occurred
- who are sportspeople.
An asbestos-related disease is automatically deemed to be reasonably attributable to workplace exposure where the person:
- was a worker for at least 12 months during a relevant employment period connected with Tasmania, and
- worked at a workplace which manufactured asbestos products, and
- was in an occupation where it may be reasonably assumed that the person was likely to have been exposed to asbestos.