26 September 2023

Firefighters to be eligible for PTSD

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Firefighters are to join ambulance workers in a presumption that their work may result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A presumption of PTSD for ambulance workers has been in place for more than a year.

In a statement, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services said that like ambulance workers, firefighters might experience a gradual build-up of mental trauma over a prolonged period as a result of experiencing or witnessing traumatic events.

“Amendments will be made to regulations to provide a rebuttable presumption of work-related PTSD for firefighters claiming workers’ compensation,” the Department said.

“If a formal diagnosis of PTSD is made by a psychiatrist, the onus of proof will shift to the employer or insurer to establish the condition isn’t related to work.”

It said this change would mean firefighters would no longer be required to prove PTSD was contracted at work to claim workers’ compensation, placing firefighters on the same footing as ambulance workers.

Minister for Emergency Services, Stephen Dawson said career firefighters often faced dangerous and traumatic events and it was fair that we acknowledged those risks and supported them in the workers’ compensation system.

“I personally want to thank WA’s firefighters for their dedication and professionalism to the essential work they provide in our community,” Mr Dawson said.

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