List of deemed diseases in Australia

The Safe Work Australia List of Deemed Diseases in Australia and Supporting Guidance Material provides evidence-based information on diseases and occupational exposures for consideration by jurisdictions when reviewing their workers’ compensation legislation. 

Most workers’ compensation schemes in Australia have a deemed diseases list. These are separate to the Safe Work Australia list and may differ in their inclusions. For more information on jurisdictional arrangements, go to Workers’ compensation | Safe Work Australia and contact the workers’ compensation authority in your state or territory.

What are deemed diseases?

Deemed diseases are conditions that are highly likely to be caused by work, based on scientific evidence. So, they are assumed to be work-related in most workers' compensation claims. 

The creation of a deemed diseases list aims to streamline access to workers’ compensation, improve fairness and clarity, and reduce the likelihood of disputes.

For workers’ compensation purposes, a worker with a relevant work-related exposure is assumed to have developed a deemed disease from their work, unless there is strong evidence to the contrary. 

Diseases that are not deemed work-related can still be the subject of a workers’ compensation claim through the normal claim process.

Reviews of deemed diseases by Safe Work Australia

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

Safe Work Australia regularly commissions reviews of the latest scientific research to ensure the list of Deemed Diseases reflects the latest scientific evidence.  

A copy of the review reports that have contributed to the development of the current List of Deemed Diseases in Australia are available below: 


The 2023 interim review recommended removing COVID-19 from the List of Deemed Diseases in Australia. The latest evidence is that COVID-19 is too prevalent in the community to assume work is the cause of most of infections among workers.