Firefighters across Australia are risking their lives at work in order to keep the community safe. There is growing evidence that firefighters are exposed to chemicals and toxic materials that can lead to various cancers and other industrial diseases. New legislation has been implemented in NSW to make it easier for firefighters and volunteer firefighters to obtain workers compensation.

What is the new legislation?

The new legislation establishes that various cancers were caused by being a firefighter. This means that firefighters with certain occupational cancers no longer have to prove which specific fires and cancer-causing substances they have been exposed to.

How do firefighters meet the new legislative requirements?

Firefighters are required to prove that they have been diagnosed with one of the 12 cancers that are specified in the legislation. Such examples are primary site brain cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, kidney cancer, testicular cancer, prostrate cancer and myeloma to name a few.

The injured worker also has to prove that they have been employed as a firefighter or volunteer firefighter for the qualifying service period associated with their particular cancer diagnosis. For example, firefighters that have been diagnosed with myeloma must have been working as a firefighter for 15 years.

Presumptive legislation around the world

Countries around the world have introduced firefighter presumptive legislation to provide workers compensation for firefighters that contract particular diseases. Presumptive legislation was pioneered in North America. In 2002 Canada enacted its first presumptive cancer legislation for firefighters. The first Australian legislation was enacted by the Commonwealth in 2011 and various states have since followed by enacting their own presumptive legislation for firefighters.

Call Turner Freeman Lawyers for Legal Advice

If you are a firefighter or volunteer firefighter and have been:

  • diagnosed with cancer
  • exposed to dangerous working conditions
  • exposed to chemicals or toxic material

Please contact Turner Freeman Lawyers for legal advice today on 13 43 63.