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Inquiry examines work-related health risks for firefighters

1 September 2011 - 6:20pm

A senate inquiry will hear from the families of firefighters as part of a review of legislation currently before federal parliament.

If passed, the bill will allow for additional support for fire safety workers battling cancer as a result of exposure on the job.

The legislation could mean that firefighters who are diagnosed with cancer following service will have the link properly recognised.

As a result, they could be entitled to worker's compensation to assist with health care.

Previously, those diagnosed with cancer as a result of exposure to burning toxins would have to use up their sick leave in addition to paying for additional expenses related to treatment.

The inquiry raises the issue of worker protection in a number of industries where employees face dangers as a natural part of their profession.

In addition to offering comprehensive health insurance cover, workplaces involving increased risk can also take measures to protect the wellbeing of staff by incorporating safety procedures and ensuring appropriate training measures are in place.

Firefighters face an incredible amount of danger due to their profession and the bill currently before parliament hopes to ease the burden on individuals who make such a valuable contribution to society.

Such legislation already exists in the majority of US states, as well as within a number of Canadian provinces. 

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