Attention Firefighters: Gov. Kasich Signs New Bill Extending Workers’ Compensation Benefits to Fire Personnel with Cancer

Firefighters are involved in life and death situations on a daily basis as they fight fires.  Unfortunately, while doing their jobs, they are exposed to many cancer causing materials that are expelled into the atmosphere from burning materials.  These toxins are both ingested and absorbed through the skin. It is a hazard that comes with the job.  Fire personnel have a higher rate of cancer-related deaths than expected.  Studies indicate that a firefighter has a 56 percent greater risk of dying from cancer and a 14 percent greater risk of contracting cancer.  This increase in cancer is primarily due to digestive, oral, respiratory and urinary cancers.   

The bill does the following:

Any fire personnel, which includes volunteers and part-timers, who develop cancer is presumed to have incurred the disease from exposure on the job, if on the job for six or more years and has been exposed to certain cancer causing agents.  This presumption can be rebutted if there is evidence that the exposure occurred prior to their work as fire personnel or if the exposure occurred as result of activities outside the course and scope of their employment.  Such limiting factors would include work in another field where the individual is exposed to cancer causing agents, or the use of cigarettes or other tobacco products.  There are other mitigating factors listed in the bill.  Notwithstanding, the bill makes it easier for firefighters to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for cancer claims due to exposure at work. 

To see the entire bill, please click on the link below.