The United Workers Union (UWU), which represents paramedics and other emergency officers in WA, has welcomed the State Government’s introduction of changes to workers’ compensation laws that shifts the legal presumption in relation to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Under the change to the regulations, which are scheduled to be introduced in February next year, paramedics, ambulance officers, and ambulance emergency communications officers will not be burdened with having to provide detailed evidence in the first instance to prove their injury was acquired at work.
The onus is now on the employer, or insurer to rebut the PTSD claim.
UWU has been campaigning for this important change to workers’ compensation for five years, after members lobbied the McGowan Labor Government about the many barriers they had faced when putting in a workers’ compensation claim for PTSD.
The workers’ compensation process, that sees already injured people battling insurers and lawyers, was often as damaging to members as the workplace injury itself.
UWU WA Ambulance Section Organiser, June Congdon, said the change was an important step in recognising some of the challenges workers face while undertaking an essential community service.
“The last thing you want to do when you’re already living with this injury – PTSD – is to jump through hoops to prove that the injury was acquired at work, and not when your dog died when you were seven years’ old,” Ms Congdon said.
“Ambos make huge sacrifices to keep the community safe, particularly during COVID, and the least we can do is make sure they are looked after when they are injured at work looking after us.
“The union has been consulting closely with the McGowan Government to ensure the regulations will have a real and positive impact on our essential emergency workers and I commend them for listening to our concerns.”