House Bill 635 may hold Implications for North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claims

July 2, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

The US House of Representative’s Bill no.635, also known as the National Commission on State Workers’ Compensation Laws Act of 2009, may hold significant implications for North Carolinians who have been hurt on the job. The House Bill will require a congressional commission to examine the recommendations and findings from last year’s commission and to reevaluate the adequacy of current workers’ compensation laws in North Carolina and elsewhere. The commission has the power to suggest extra remedies for workers, including increased benefits, medical coverage, and legal resources. Currently, the Bill is in the House Committee on Education and Labor.

The Act may also provide extra benefits for sick North Carolina firefighters who have been exposed to carcinogenic elements during the course of work. Emergency responders often enter environments filled with smoke, volatile organic compounds, and other carcinogens. Research suggests that professional and volunteer firefighters suffer higher than average rates of related cancers, lung ailments and other conditions. An amendment to the current North Carolina workers’ compensation rules to provide extra benefits to cancer stricken firefighters and first responders might have retroactive applicability. This is because lung ailments, cancers, and other chronic conditions often take years (if not decades) to manifest. A single acute inhalation from one fire, for instance, can result in melatomas decades later. Repeated exposure to low, but not negligible, levels of carcinogens can increase risk for diseases and certain cancers. Firefighters also show higher rates of asbestos inhalation damage, psychological trauma, and certain repetitive stress injuries.

Workers Compensation Benefits To Be Extended To Firefighters With Cancer, WebWire, May 26, 2009

More Web Resources:

House Committee on Education and Labor

US House of Representatives


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