Deemed diseases

Review of deemed diseases by Safe Work Australia

To streamline access to workers’ compensation, improve fairness and clarity, and reduce the chance claims could be disputed, we commissioned a report to review the latest scientific research to inform policy and develop an Australian list of scheduled diseases and guidance material.

The first national Deemed Diseases in Australia report was published on 31 August 2015.

The Review of the 2015 Deemed Diseases in Australia Report was published in December 2021 along with a revised List of Deemed Diseases in Australia and Supporting Guidance Material

The report provides evidence-based information on a list of diseases and occupational exposures, for consideration by workers’ compensation jurisdictions when reviewing the deemed diseases lists in their workers’ compensation legislation.

The purpose of the Review was to ensure that the List of Deemed Diseases in Australia continues to reflect the latest scientific evidence.

What are deemed diseases?

As it is difficult to prove that a disease was contracted at work, most workers’ compensation schemes in Australia have created a deemed diseases list. 

The list contains diseases developed by workers through exposures at workplaces. A worker is deemed to have developed a disease due to an exposure at work unless there is strong evidence to the contrary. 

Deemed diseases lists within Australian workers’ compensation schemes

Most workers’ compensation schemes in Australia have a Deemed Diseases List as part of their workers’ compensation system. 

Each scheme has a separate list, these lists are either based on the Safe Work Australia List of Deemed Diseases in Australia or the International Labour Organization’s List of Occupational Diseases.