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(c) 2019 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Firefighter and Public Safety Officer Presumption Bill Advances

Firefighter and public safety officer presumption bill advances and creates a rebuttable presumption of workers’ compensation coverage for public safety workers and other employees in certain circumstances. 

The bill affirms that if, in the course of employment, a public safety worker is exposed to a serious communicable disease or a biological warfare or epidemic-related pathogen or biological toxin, all care or treatment of the worker, including services needed to ascertain whether the worker contracted the disease, shall be compensable under workers' compensation, even if the worker is found not to have contracted the disease. If the worker is found to have contracted a disease, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that any injury, disability, chronic or corollary illness or death caused by the disease is compensable under workers' compensation. 

The bill affirms workers’ compensation coverage for any injury, illness or death of any employee, including an employee who is not a public safety worker, arising from the administration of a vaccine related to threatened or potential bioterrorism or epidemic as part of an inoculation program in connection with the employee’s employment or in connection with any governmental program or recommendation for the inoculation of workers. 

The bill creates a rebuttable presumption that any condition or impairment of health of a public safety worker which may be caused by exposure to cancer-causing radiation or radioactive substances is a compensable occupational disease under workers' compensation if the worker was exposed to a carcinogen, or the cancer-causing radiation or radioactive substance, in the course of employment. Employers are required to maintain records of instances of the workers deployed where the presence of known carcinogens was indicated by documents provided to local fire or police departments under the “Worker and Community Right to Know Act,” P.L.1983, c.315 (C.34:5A-1 et seq.) and where events occurred which could result in exposure to those carcinogens. 

In the case of any firefighter with seven or more years of service, the bill creates a rebuttable presumption that, if the firefighter suffers an injury, illness or death which may be caused by cancer, the cancer is a compensable occupational disease. 

The bill provides that, with respect to all of the rebuttable presumptions of coverage, employers may require workers to undergo, at employer expense, reasonable testing, evaluation and monitoring of worker health conditions relevant to determining whether exposures or other presumed causes are actually linked to the deaths, illnesses or disabilities, and further provides that the presumptions of compensability are not adversely affected by failures of employers to require testing, evaluation or monitoring. 

The public safety workers covered by the bill include paid or volunteer emergency, correctional, fire, police and medical personnel. 

This bill was pre-filed for introduction in the 2018-2019 session pending technical review. As reported, the bill includes the changes required by technical review, which has been performed. 

The following bill(s) have been scheduled for a committee or a legislative session. 

The following bill(s) have been scheduled for a committee or a legislative session.
A1741:
Quijano, Annette/Benson, Daniel R./Lagana, Joseph A.
"Thomas P. Canzanella Twenty First Century First Responders Protection Act"; concerns workers' compensation for public safety workers.
6/20/2019 1:00:00 PM Assembly
Voting Session
Assembly Chambers
http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/bills/BillView.asp?BillNumber=A1741

S716:
Greenstein, Linda R./Bateman, Christopher
"Thomas P. Canzanella Twenty First Century First Responders Protection Act"; concerns workers' compensation for public safety workers.
6/20/2019 1:00:00 PM Assembly
Voting Session
Assembly Chambers
http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/bills/BillView.asp?BillNumber=S716


…. 
Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900jon@gelmans.com has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Updated: 06-15-2019
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