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Cancer | Fire/emergency medical services | Respiratory conditions | Legislation | Workers' compensation

Legislation aims to ensure workers’ comp for certain firefighter diseases

May 12, 2014

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Washington – Firefighters who work for federal agencies and contract certain diseases on the job would be ensured federal workers’ compensation coverage under newly introduced bipartisan legislation.

Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Susan Collins (R-ME) on April 29 introduced the Federal Firefighters Fairness Act (S.B. 2266). If signed into law, the bill would amend the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act to make a presumption that certain diseases suffered by federal firefighters are considered work-related. The diseases include heart disease; lung disease; and lung, skin and brain cancer.

This presumption – which applies only to workers who have at least five years in fire protection activities – would mean firefighters would no longer have to prove their diseases are work-related to receive benefits.

The legislation is similar to many state laws and to legislation previously introduced in past congresses. A companion bill introduced in the House last December, at press time, was in the House Education and the Workforce Committee.