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Oregon House passes occupational disease coverage bill


The Oregon House unanimously passed legislation to require disability or retirement programs to presumptively cover occupational diseases suffered by first responders in the state.

H.B. 4062 mandates that in municipalities where disability or retirement coverage for firefighters and police officers is not subject to workers compensation laws, that occupational diseases be covered by those disability or retirement systems unless clear and convincing medical evidence shows that the condition was unrelated to employment, or a pre-duty physical examination showed evidence of the occupational disease. Democratic Rep. Janeen Sollman is the bill’s sponsor.

Occupational diseases covered by this legislation include any disease or infection caused by ingestion of, absorption of, inhalation of or contact with dust, fumes, vapors, gases, radiation or other substances;  any mental disorder that results in physical or mental disability or death; or any series of traumatic events or occurrences that requires medical services or results in physical disability or death. However, to obtain retirement or disability benefits, the worker must prove that the employment conditions were the major contributing cause of the disease.

The bill also establishes a time limitation for filing a claim of one year from the date the claimant first discovered or should have discovered the occupational disease or was informed of the condition by a physician.

The legislation now moves to the Oregon Senate for consideration.