Maryland to Expand Workers’ Compensation Benefits for FirefightersJune 6, 2019
According to the International Association of Firefighters, the leading cause of death among firefighters is cancer, including leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and respiratory and urinary cancers. Researchers believe that the increase in these types of cancers is due to the fires that these brave men and women fight to put out. Many of today’s homes and offices are built using synthetics, plastics, and chemicals that become toxic when they burn. Governor Larry Hogan recently signed several bills, including two that will improve cancer coverage for Maryland firefighters.
The following are two bills that will improve Workers’ Compensation benefits for firefighters:
- House Bill 595: Due to the substances exposed to firefighters, they are at an increased risk for certain types of cancer. This bill includes bladder and kidney, or renal cell cancers to the list of cancers that should be considered occupational diseases for firefighters.
- House Bill 604/Senate Bill 646: This bill honors Jesse McCullough, a Prince George’s County firefighter who died from metastatic colon cancer related to his job. This bill ensures that firefighters receive expanded Workers’ Compensation benefits by closing loopholes related to cumulative time served.
Safety Tips to Help Reduce Cancer Risk
There are several steps that firefighters can take to reduce their exposure to hazardous, cancer-causing carcinogens, including the following:
- Wear a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). This helps firefighters avoid breathing in dangerous toxins. Respiratory cancers are one of the most common cancers that affect firefighters. Wearing a mask is the first line of defense.
- Remove and clean contaminated gear. Once removed, soiled gear should be stored in dedicated containers so that they can be thoroughly cleaned. They should not be removed in or near ambulances, personal vehicles, or living quarters.
- Wash neck, face, arms, and groin after each fire. Particulates tend to collect in these places.
- Change into a clean uniform. After a thorough shower to cleanse the body of any toxins, put on a clean set of clothing. The clothing that was worn under the uniform must be washed.
- Wash turnout gear and fire hood regularly. Ideally, this should happen after every fire, but once a week is acceptable. This will help ensure that the firefighter never wears a contaminated uniform. If uniforms are laundered in-house, the detergent should be certified as safe by the National Fire Protection Association.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Injured Firefighters
If you or someone you know is a firefighter and is suffering from cancer or any other occupational disease, contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We are committed to protecting your rights and will take every step necessary to secure the maximum financial benefits you deserve. Our experienced and compassionate legal team will guide you through the claims process and address all your questions and concerns. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. Located in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.