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Wash. lawmakers add diseases to presumption list

Posted On: Apr. 16, 2019 10:29 AM CST

first responders

Washington lawmakers have voted to expand the number of occupational diseases covered by workers compensation for first responders in the state. 

H.B. 1913 passed the state’s Senate in a unanimous vote Thursday and was signed by Washington House of Representatives Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, on Monday. The bill adds to its presumption coverage heart problems experienced within 72 hours of exposure to smoke, fumes or toxic substances or within 24 hours of strenuous exertion in the line of duty, and also expands occupational disease coverage to include mesothelioma, stomach cancer, nonmelanoma skin cancer, breast cancer in women and cervical cancer. The state currently lists 11 occupational diseases on its presumptive coverage list for law enforcement officers, firefighters and fire investigators.  

The legislation also creates an advisory committee on occupational disease presumptions and stipulates that the five-member committee review scientific literature related to these occupational diseases and provide recommendations to the Legislature within six months.