ASSEMBLY, No. 1566

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2010 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  FREDERICK SCALERA

District 36 (Bergen, Essex and Passaic)

Assemblyman  VINCENT PRIETO

District 32 (Bergen and Hudson)

Assemblyman  JACK CONNERS

District 7 (Burlington and Camden)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblyman Greenwald, Assemblywoman Watson Coleman, Assemblymen Wisniewski, Conaway, Assemblywoman Greenstein, Assemblyman Green, Assemblywoman Pou, Assemblymen Thompson, Johnson, Cryan and Assemblywoman N.Munoz

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Concerns workers' compensation for firefighters with cancer.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act concerning workers’ compensation for firefighters who have cancer and supplementing chapter 15 of Title 34 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  a.  Any condition or impairment of health of a member of a paid fire department, volunteer fire department, or fire department with both paid and volunteer members, caused by cancer, including leukemia, shall be presumed to be a compensable occupational disease, if: (1) the member demonstrates that he was exposed to a known carcinogen while in the service of the department; (2)  the member, at the time of the exposure, did not fail to properly utilize respiratory protective equipment furnished by the department in compliance with any applicable standard adopted pursuant to the "New Jersey Public Employees' Occupational Safety and Health Act" P.L.1983, c.516 (C.34:6A-25 et seq.) and clearly made by the department a requirement of the member's employment and did not fail to follow any procedures regarding respiratory protection in compliance with any applicable standard adopted pursuant to the "New Jersey Public Employees' Occupational Safety and Health Act," P.L.1983, c.516 (C.34:6A-25 et seq.) and clearly made by the department a requirement of the member's employment; and (3) the member did not willfully refuse to accept medical treatment made available by the department in connection with the exposure, but this presumption may be rebutted by satisfactory proof that the exposure is not linked to the occurrence of the cancer.  In seeking to prove that the exposure is not linked to the occurrence of the cancer or that the member willfully refused to use equipment, follow procedures or accept medical treatment in the manner indicated in this subsection, the department may use information regarding the exposure reported pursuant to subsection b. of this section, and, for any case based on one or more exposures occurring after the effective date of this act, the department shall be required to submit information from the report to support a contention of there being no link or of the member's willful refusal.

     b.  Each paid fire department, volunteer fire department, or fire department with both paid and volunteer members shall participate in the National Fire Incident Reporting System and provide a copy of a report to the National Fire Incident Reporting System of any incident involving any member of the department in the course of the member's duty with the department which requires medical treatment, including any exposure of the member to a known carcinogen for which the member received medical treatment, and of any exposure during which a member willfully refuses to properly utilize respiratory protective equipment furnished by the department or for which the member willfully refuses to accept medical treatment  made available by the department.  The report shall be made on a form which shall be provided by the Department of Health and Senior Services in a manner suitable for use as a report to the National Fire Incident Reporting System and consistent with all applicable requirements of Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1904 regarding the recording and reporting of occupational injuries and illnesses, and shall include all information required for reports to the National Fire Incident Reporting System and any additional information as needed to comply with the reporting requirements of this section, including all information regarding any willful refusal of a member to use equipment, follow procedures or accept medical treatment in the manner indicated in subsection a. of this section.  In addition to the report provided to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, the department shall maintain a copy of the report in its own records and make copies of the report available, upon request, to the member, the department, or any representative authorized by the member or department for use in connection with any workers' compensation claim based on the exposure.

     For the purpose of this section, “known carcinogen” means a substance identified as a carcinogen by the State Department of Health and Senior Services or by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the "National Fire Incident Reporting System" means the National Fire Incident Reporting System developed by the United States Fire Administration.

 

     2.  This act shall take effect immediately, but the provisions of this act shall not apply to any claim for compensation filed prior to the effective date of this act.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill concerns the determination of whether a firefighter's cancer is a compensable injury under the workers' compensation program.

     The bill creates a rebuttable presumption that the cancer is a compensable occupational disease of the firefighter for workers' compensation purposes if the firefighter was exposed to a carcinogen while in service of the department and the firefighter, at the time of the exposure did not fail to properly use department-provided safety equipment and follow safety procedures clearly made a requirement of employment, and did not willfully refuse to accept treatment.  The presumption that the cancer is a compensable employment-related injury may be rebutted by proof that the occurrence of the cancer is not linked to the in-service exposure to the carcinogen.

     The bill requires every fire department to participate in the National Fire Incident Reporting System, and to provide to that system a report of each on-duty incident involving a department member requiring medical treatment, including exposures to known carcinogens, and exposures during which members willfully refuse to use equipment, follow procedures or accept treatment as required, and requires that department to maintain copies of the report in its records to be made available for use in workers' compensation claims.  The bill permits, or in cases involving exposures after the effective date of the bill, requires a department to use information from the reports if seeking to prove that the exposure is not linked to the occurrence of the cancer or that the member willfully refused to use equipment, follow procedures or accept medical treatment in the manner indicated in the bill.