Bill to Protect Public Safety Workers Injured or Killed on the Job OK’d by Assembly Panel

An Assembly panel on Monday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Linda Stender and Joseph V. Egan to ensure public safety workers who suffer a disability or death due to their often extreme work requirements are covered by workers’ compensation.

“These workers are our first line of defense. Their jobs are not only stressful, they are dangerous,” said Stender (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “This bill ensures that public safety workers are adequately covered if they suffer a debilitating illness or worse related to their duties at work.”

“Public safety workers expose themselves to dangerous situations that could prove debilitating and even deadly,” said Egan (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “The work is grueling not just physically, but mentally. The work itself can be a health hazard. They deserve comparable coverage.”

The bill creates a rebuttable presumption of workers’ compensation coverage for any death or disability, including post traumatic stress disorder, if the death or disability arises from the physical or psychological impact of stress or injury experienced by a public safety worker engaged in response to a terrorist attack, epidemic, or other catastrophic emergency, in which the worker is exposed to pathogens or biological toxins from biological warfare or epidemics, hazardous chemicals used in, or related to, chemical warfare, or cancer-causing radiation or radioactive substances, or witnesses death and suffering of a magnitude sufficient to cause significant psychological trauma.

The public safety workers covered by the bill include paid or volunteer emergency, correctional, fire, police and medical personnel. The bill requires employers of public safety workers expected to respond to terrorist attacks or catastrophic emergencies to provide needed psychological and social counseling for the workers during and after the incidents or emergencies.

The bill provides that, with respect to all of the rebuttable presumptions of coverage, employers may require workers to undergo, at employer expense, reasonable testing, evaluation and monitoring of worker health conditions to determine whether exposures or other presumed causes are actually linked to the deaths, illnesses or disabilities, and further provides that the presumptions of compensability are not adversely affected by failures of employers to require testing, evaluation or monitoring.

The bill was approved by the Assembly Labor Committee. TLS.

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  1. How about the rest of us that aren’t Public Employees but pay the bills for the Public Employees, Oh wait, I remember Public Employees vote Democratic, so the Democratics are rewarding their supporters with some one else’s money. Gotta love those Democrats..

  2. I am a public employee and I pay my own bills..I am also not a Democrat so you can get that off your agenda. If Im injured or killed in the line of duty everyone will criticize how I did my job or how I didn’t. I work as safe as I can but working in the field and in Public Safety we catch a lot of gruff. We can not make any of you happy unless we are kissing up to you or doing things the way you want us to..everyone is a judge of our character, everyone thinks they can do it better. I have been in Public Safety as a Public Employee for over 20 yrs I have seen those that thank us and those that criticize us, sometimes at the same scene. I have over 20 yrs of experience in my fields, and do them well. Im sorry I can not make everyone happy all the time..But my brothers & sisters are always safe when we are working together.

    Thank you

  3. Hey anon1 ….. why don’t you volunteer and see what those of us that do volunteer see …. oh wait ..why would you possibly volunteer…you probably wouldn’t do anything without getting paid for it .

  4. I thought all employers are to carry workmens comp? As a volunteer firefighter in Lakewood I know I am covered by it. Even though I don’t collect a pay check.

  5. “who suffer a disability or death due to their often extreme work requirements are covered by workers’ compensation.” You DO understand the irony of this statement, right? Hmmm, too little, too late, I’d say.

  6. hey anon1, why dont you strap on a vest and a gun, or put on a fire fighting gear and get in there. but, i bet you wont, because as public safety workers run towards the threat, YOU would be running from it.

    But, you can go ahead and be a little tough guy behind your keyboard, and most likely in your mommy’s basement. How about next time, just say thanks for a job well done to those that work around the clock keeping your coward behind safe.

    thanks, and have a great day!

  7. lets see workmans comp.. i as well am a volunteer . if i am inured or disabled i promise you i would not be able to live the life i have on workmans copm. it will not come close to paying my basicly i am saying that if i am hurt as a volunteer firefighter i will lose my house , be forced to move my children wife ect. you know what ..anon1 how about you just say thank you and go about your day

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