LANSING – State Representative Tom Cochran (D-Mason) applauded Gov. Rick Snyder for signing Senate Bill 211 into law yesterday. The legislation makes worker’s compensation benefits available to firefighters who develop cancer because of the toxic chemicals they are exposed to on the job.
“Firefighters face a lot of workplace hazards – from collapsing roofs to burns and smoke inhalation – which you do not have in other lines of work. There is also unseen danger from the chemicals in the walls, paint and furniture,” Cochran said. “Research has shown that firefighters are at an increased risk for certain medical problems, including cancer, from being exposed to these chemicals.”
Legislation similar to SB 211 has been introduced to the House and Senate in the past, but it has either not made it to the governor’s desk, or was vetoed by the governor, as was the case in the ‘90s.
“In the past, if a firefighter became sick and could not work, they could lose medical coverage,” Cochran said. “Friends and family could do little more than stand by and watch as their loved one’s health and finances deteriorated. This new law will increase security to firefighters who put their lives on the line to keep us safe. As a former firefighter, I am very proud to have had the opportunity to support this legislation.”