PHOENIX — This week, Governor Doug Ducey signed Senate Bill (SB) 1451, legislation which expands workers’ compensation for diseases presumed to be a result of Arizona’s firefighters and fire investigators’ job demands and requirements.
The bill strengthens the presumption that a firefighter’s cancer diagnosis is work related thereby ensuring that more firefighters are eligible for worker’s compensation and can spend more time focusing on their health and family and less time fighting with cities and insurance companies for their benefits.
This bill also protects female firefighters and fire investigators by adding breast cancer and ovarian cancer to the list of qualifying cancers to ensure that they have access to the same benefits and protections as their male co-workers.
Previously, to qualify for the presumption, a firefighter or peace officer must have passed a physical examination before employment that did not indicate evidence of cancer, been assigned to hazardous duty for at least five years, and documented with the department an exposure to a known carcinogen that is reasonably related to cancer. Firefighters were burdened with identifying exactly when and where they were exposed to a carcinogen that caused their cancer, which is why SB 1451 removes that specific requirement.