Review of Schedule 2 of the Injury Prevention Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2001 (IPRC Act): Report to the Minister of Labour - 2005/06
Schedule 2 of the Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Compensation Act 2001 (IPRC Act) provides a list of occupational disorders and exposures. Claims made for disorders and exposures contained within Schedule 2 of the Act are able to be considered more quickly than other claims because the connection between the disorder and an occupational exposure is automatically accepted.
In 2004, the National Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Committee (NOHSAC) released a report that described the burden of occupational disease and injury in New Zealand. Comparison of the report’s findings with the New Zealand Schedule 2, which contains a list of formally recognised diseases and toxic substances, showed that Schedule 2 does not include many disorders for which there is strong evidence of connection to occupational exposures. In 2005, based on the results of the NOHSAC report and other relevant research, the Ministerial Advisory Panel on Work-related Gradual Process Disease and Infection reported concerns that Schedule 2 was too restrictive, particularly in regard to work-related gradual process disease and infection.
In May 2005, the Honourable Ruth Dyson, Associate Minister for Labour and Minister for the ACC, requested NOHSAC to assist in a review of Schedule 2. This assistance was to involve a review of the NOHSAC report to inform the review of Schedule 2, and specifically to identify and document:
- the disorders where the causal link between exposure and development of the disorder is well established; and
- the prevalence of such disorders/diseases in the community (including work and non-work causative factors).
This report provides the result of the requested review. The overall aim of the project was to provide background information and recommendations to support a review of Schedule 2 of the IPRC Act.
Much of the factual information in this report is drawn directly from the NOHSAC report The burden of occupational disease and injury in New Zealand. Other information is based on published literature and relevant information from government reports, online sources and other appropriate sources. No new investigations were undertaken to obtain information on exposure or risk.
The International Labour Organization’s List of Occupational Diseases (the ILO List) is documented in ILO Convention 42 (Workmen’s Compensation (Occupational Diseases) Convention (Revised), 1934). This has been revised several times since it was first released, with further additions being considered in 2005. A number of countries have their own equivalent of Schedule 2, almost always based heavily on the ILO List. In most cases, the schedule contains a mixture of specific and non-specific disorders.
Schedule 2 of the IPRC Act is comprised of a list of diseases linked to specific occupational exposures. The Schedule appears to be based on the International Labour Organization’s List of Occupational Diseases. New Zealand is a signatory to ILO Convention 42, but has not ratified any of the later amendments to the Convention. The current version of Schedule 2 does not include many of the categories listed in the ILO List, which in turn does not include many disorders that can definitely arise due to occupational exposures. For inclusion in Schedule 2, it is desirable that:
- there is strong evidence of a causal link between the occupational exposure and the disorder;
- there are clear and repeatable criteria for diagnosing the disorder; and
- the disorder comprises a considerable proportion of the cases of that disorder in the overall population or an identifiable subset of the population.
The structure of Schedule 2 is best based on a combination of specific disorder-exposure combinations, unless the number of potential exposures linked to a particular disorder, or the number of disorders linked to a particular exposure, make it impractical to list them all.
Using these criteria, and scientific evidence from the published literature, the known and potential occupational disorders and exposures are considered. The disorders and exposures are grouped into those that should and should not be included in a revised version of Schedule 2, and reasons for the recommendations are presented. Finally, the recommended format and content of the revised form of Schedule 2, as well as the disorders not recommended for inclusion, are presented.