The Victorian state government has announced it is considering implementing a system to compensate firefighters and other staff who contract illnesses following exposure to deadly toxins at the Fiskville facility.
Until the closure of the site in March 2015, all personnel who were working and training at the site were exposed to an array of lethal substances known to cause cancer and other serious health concerns. Unfortunately, these illnesses often only manifest later in life, which means that the full consequences of the Fiskville exposure may not be known for some time.
The Fiskville disaster again highlights the need for a system of deemed compensation for firefighters who develop particular cancers and illnesses after their service. Whilst this legislation is already in place in other Australian jurisdictions, Victoria has not yet implemented such a system despite clear medical evidence of a link between exposure to particular substances and the development of particular illnesses.
Currently, in order to receive compensation for the development of an illness following active firefighter duty, the worker bears the burden of proving the link between the illness and the exposure. Other jurisdictions have a system where the simple fact of exposure automatically entitles the firefighter to claim compensation and financial assistance. In mid November 2015, the Victorian state government confirmed that it was continuing to review the viability of such a system in Victoria.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to toxins as part of your employment and you subsequently develop an illness, you may be entitled to compensation. We invite you to speak with one of our expert injury lawyers on (03) 9321 9988 to get accurate and personal advice about your potential entitlements.