Asbestos-Related Diseases and Workers' Compensation

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Although exposure to asbestos at work can give rise to incapacitating and often fatal diseases, there are significant obstacles for workers in claiming compensation for asbestos-related diseases. Such obstacles include the long latency of the disease, the need to establish causation many years after exposure, and the fact that individual workers may have been exposed to asbestos with multiple employers and/or in multiple jurisdictions. With the legacy of disease from past and present asbestos exposure expected to continue for some decades to come, there is a crucial need to address the obstacles to workers, and their families, receiving fair and adequate compensation. This article examines how asbestos-related diseases have been compensated in Australia, and how the Commonwealth, state and territory workers� compensation schemes might be reformed to facilitate compensation. The article clarifies the often conflicting interests of workers and employers (and their respective representatives), discusses alternative models for compensation in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, and explains options for national legislation, national uniformity or consistency in Australian schemes. The article evaluates alternative approaches with reference to the criteria of effectiveness, efficiency, equity and political acceptability, and proposes a strategy for reform based on uniform provisions specific to asbestos-related disease compensation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)269-294
    JournalSydney Law Review
    Volume34
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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