Firefighters Who get Cancer on the Job May be Getting Help from Legislators

Posted at 9:16 PM, Oct 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-21 17:25:04-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (WTXL) - Legislation filed for the Florida 2016 session, would create the presumption that a firefighter who is diagnosed with cancer, got the disease while in the line of duty.

Bills filed in both chambers of the legislature would change the burden of proof. The burden proof would change from employee to employer on what caused the cancer.

House Bill sponsor Heather Fitzenhagen says, science has proven firefighters are at a much greater risk for cancer than the general population, given their hazardous work environments.

"In the gear that firefighters wear, there are a lot of places where carcinogens can get in touch with the skin, even though they are wearing protective gear. typically, those places are around the neck."

Supporters of the Bill say, the legislation is necessary because many employees are now being let-go once they use up all of their sick leave and short-term disability. If they are unable to work, they lose their jobs and have to try to deal with a cancer diagnosis at the same time.

The Bill, is expected to be debated during the 2016 regular session. If the Bill is passed it would take effect next July 1st.