The recent spate of bushfires throughout Victoria has seen renewed calls for the State Government to review the application of the WorkCover scheme to firefighters.
Research indicates that firefighters are at a substantially increased risk of contracting particular types of cancer as a result of exposure to various chemicals whilst performing their duties.
States including Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia have introduced legislation to reduce the burden of proof for firefighters battling particular types of cancer. Similar legislation also exists at a federal level, where particular types of cancer are deemed to be connected to a firefighter's employment. However, no such legislation currently exists to protect Victorian firefighters.
Firefighters in Victoria are currently subject to the same requirements as other workers, who must establish that their injury or illness has been caused by their employment.
The United Firefighters Union has recently reiterated the need for Victorian laws to reflect the protections afforded to workers in other jurisdictions. The calls have been echoed by Andrew Wood, the firefighter who recently suffered significant burns after rescuing an injured policewoman from a burning apartment in Middle Park.
If you or someone you know has sustained an injury whilst at work, we invite you to contact one of our WorkCover experts on (03) 9321 9988.