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Lawmakers in Connecticut and South Carolina have proposed legislation that would make it easier for first responders to obtain workers compensation coverage for mental health injuries or occupational diseases.
In Connecticut, S.B. 141, introduced Tuesday, would presume that professional and volunteer firefighters who are diagnosed with cancer incurred the injury in the line of duty through their exposure to toxic substances and poisonous gases. To be eligible, the firefighter must have served for a minimum of five years, been repeatedly exposed to indoor fires, be a nonsmoker, and to have no history of cancer prior to becoming a firefighter.
S.B. 142 would extend workers compensation benefits to corrections officers, emergency medical service providers and dispatchers who are diagnosed with mental or emotional impairments related to their jobs.
In South Carolina, S.B. 94, also introduced Tuesday, would modify the state’s workers comp law to allow first responders who are diagnosed with a mental injury or post-traumatic stress disorder arising from their direct involvement in a significant traumatic experience to obtain workers compensation.
If signed into law, the legislation would take effect immediately.
Lawmakers in New York and Alaska on Friday introduced legislation to make COVID-19 a compensable occupational disease for certain classes of workers.