Firefighters in Ohio will likely be relieved after an announcement last month that funds will be made available to provide them with better protection against the health hazards they face. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has established a program to limit the exposure of the state’s firefighters to various toxic elements when they are fighting fires. The program is called the Firefighter Exposure to Environmental Elements Grant Program.
The CEO and administrator of BWC said the program would grant $2 million per year to ensure the different fire departments across the state have the necessary funds to acquire specially designed equipment and safety gear. The personal protective equipment will provides safeguards against harmful elements like carcinogens that threaten the health and safety while firefighters save the lives of others. The dangerous elements to which they are exposed typically cause long-term health damage.
When combating fires, a residue is inhaled while it also collects on the firefighters’ safety gear. This damages the lungs, and it can cause severe illnesses including cancer, respiratory disease and other ailments. The funds will also help to ensure that the firefighters not only have the appropriate protective gear but that it is properly cleaned after every shift to remove any dangerous residues and harmful compounds.
The health risks that firefighters face have been widely discussed in recent months, and the assurance that the Ohio workers’ compensation system has their backs may provide some peace of mind. Those who have been diagnosed with occupational illnesses will be entitled to benefits that will cover medical expenses and lost wages. Any worker whose condition prevents him or her from returning to work may be awarded additional disability benefits to provide long-term care.
Source: workcompwire.com, “Ohio BWC Awards $406,000 in Grants to Protect Ohio Firefighters“, Accessed on Nov. 17, 2017