Disfigurement Award Assessments
Effective date: February 1, 2015
Application: Claims for disfigurement assessed on or after the effective date.
Policy subject: Permanent functional impairment (PFI)
To establish the process for acquiring photographs from injured workers for the purpose of assessing and rating disfigurement.
Disfigurement means a conspicuous alteration or abnormal change in the features of the face, neck, hands, torso, and upper and lower extremities and or substantial and permanent scarring of these areas. Disfigurement is related to the cosmetic appearance of the body and not the loss of bodily function.
- The Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) has approved POL 23/2010, Permanent Functional Impairment (PFI) – General.
- In accordance with POL 23/2010 and the most current edition of The American Medical Association: Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, Medical Officers will provide PFI evaluations for disfigurement awards.
- Linear scarring that is caused by surgical intervention or work-related injuries (e.g., lacerations) may not qualify for a PFI award unless the scarring is on the front of the worker’s neck or face. Where there is frontal neck or facial scarring, the worker should submit digital colour photographs of the disfigurement to the WCB.
- The worker should also submit colour digital photographs where, as the result of a work-related injury, the worker has:
- extensive scarring from a burn, pigment change or permanent rash;
- surgical skin graft (photographs should be taken of the graft and donor site); or
- severe skin deformity;
on any part of their body. Such disfigurements may be acceptable for a PFI award.
- Scarring that is caused by an amputation will not qualify for a separate cosmetic PFI award because the PFI rating for amputations already includes a cosmetic factor.
- Where colour digital photographs are required, the photographs must be taken and provided to the Operations staff two years from the date of injury or the worker’s most current surgery. It is recommended that the photographs be provided as:
- Email photo attachment;
- Compact disk;
- Portable flash drive; or
- Other electronic method.
Colour photographs on photographic paper may be acceptable in some situations. The WCB will reimburse all reasonable costs associated with providing photographs.
- The Operations staff will attach colour digital photographs to the worker’s electronic claim file. Once the photographs are attached, the Operations staff will send a referral to the Medical Officer, who will complete a PFI rating.
- Where the disfigurement involves body parts of a sensitive nature, the Operations staff will contact the Medical Officer to determine if colour digital photographs of the disfigurement are required. Sensitive photographs will be delivered directly and securely to the Medical Officer.