04-13-2005, 10:27 PM #1
Duh? Firefighting is hazardous to your health
This just in........a remarkable discovery
VANCOUVER (CP) - After a decade of refusing to acknowledge a
connection, the Workers Compensation Board conceded Tuesday that
fighting fires presents a distinct health hazard.
"I am satisfied that it makes sense to move ahead in this
area," said Labour Minister Graham Bruce.
In a deal with the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters' Association,
the B.C. government vowed to introduce a bill in the next
legislative session to provide WCB coverage for primary-site brain,
bladder, kidney, ureter and colon cancers. The coverage would also
apply to primary non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and leukemia without the
long WCB claims process.
B.C. is one of just three provinces not to provide some WCB
compensation to firefighters.
"This is outstanding news," said B.C. Professional Fire
Fighters' Association president Al Leier.
Between 1985 and 2004, only 17 of 47 cancer claims by B.C.
firefighters were accepted by the WCB. Each case was separately
investigated, a process which Leier said can cost $100,000 apiece.
As far back as 1994 an Ontario study found firefighters were
twice as likely as other workers to suffer from brain cancer and
Leier added B.C. firefighters also hope to add retroactivity to
their deal. He said his Alberta counterparts won a 10-year
retroactive clause in their agreement.
Meanwhile, Manitoba - which acknowledged firefighting-related
illnesses in 2002 - is adding two key areas B.C. will not cover
with its new legislation: Firefighters will get automatic coverage
for lung cancer and heart attacks within 24 hours of fighting a
blaze. (Vancouver Province)
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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