Skin cancer payout may trigger claims stampede

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The Independent Online
SYDNEY (Reuter) - Australian employers could face a flood of lawsuits following a successful Adollars 100,000 (pounds 39,000) claim by a bricklayer who developed skin cancer after years of working in the sun, dermatologists said yesterday.

'A stampede is possible,' said Dr Tony White of New South Wales's Cancer Council. 'There are a lot of outdoor workers out there. If they develop (skin cancer) and they see this in the papers, they will make the link.'

The bricklayer, Glen Powell, 33, died in 1989 after battling melanoma cancer of the scalp for 18 months. On Thursday, Victoria's Accident Compensation Tribunal found that after 17 years' work in the harsh Australian sun for municipal authorities, Powell had very probably contracted the cancer during his job.

The award is thought to be the world's first successful suit against an employer by an outdoor worker over skin cancer. The money will be paid to his widow and the couple's three children, for whom it will be placed in trust.