Firefighters have an increased risk of developing cancer due to the nature of their jobs. These brave men and women regularly come into contact with burning consumer products, many of which contain carcinogens. Smoke from carcinogens can seep into the skin or be inhaled. Ohio lawmakers have recognized firefighting comes with a heightened risk of cancer. That is why they passed Senate Bill 27 (SB 27) last year to help firefighters and their families receive workers comp benefits.
Depending on the circumstances, SB 27 allows firefighters to receive benefits if they are disabled by cancer. This week, SB 27 will go into effect.
When Are Firefighters Eligible to Receive Workers Comp Benefits?
The law requires firefighters to show they developed cancer as a result of their job duties. Firefighters with six or more years of hazardous duty assignments are eligible under the right circumstances. To receive workers’ comp, firefighters must show:
They were exposed to group 1 or 2A carcinogens. These are materials categorized by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (or successor organizations). Group 1 means “carcinogenic to humans.” Group 2A means the materials are “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
They must show work-related exposure contributed to their disabling cancer. Use of tobacco products or exposure to carcinogens outside of the workplace may be disqualifiers. Firefighters cannot receive workers’ comp under this law if they had cancer before being joining a fire department, or if they developed cancer 20 years after being assigned to hazardous duty.
Workers comp benefits may help pay for lost income, medical bills and other expenses caused by severe illness or injuries.
The Ohio workers compensation attorneys at Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC can help firefighters with occupational illnesses discover options for benefits.