Fire fighters and other emergency workers face risks to their health and safety every day. In order to prevent unnecessary harm, employers must take steps to prevent workplace injuries to those employed in emergency services. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has recently proposed measures that could drastically change job requirements for fire fighters.
One of the recently proposed requirements would mandate that fire fighters, including those in Pennsylvania, undergo a thorough health and physical screening. A physical exam and lab tests would be designated to identify underlying health risks and problems that could compromise one's ability to do their job safely. In 2014, over half of the fire fighters who died on duty passed away as the result of a heart attack.
These new changes are designed to protect fire fighters, but they could pose a harsh financial burden on small areas where funding is low. Medical tests and extra screening could be costly and may compromise the ability to purchase safety equipment or have necessary safety education. While these proposed changes have not yet been formally enacted, employers have expressed concerns over the ability to meet the financial demands if they are approved.
Fire fighters have the right to be as safe as possible while at work, as do other men and women employed in emergency services in Pennsylvania. After suffering workplace injuries, accident victims can protect their rights by seeking the help of a lawyer experienced in workers' compensation claims. When a fire fighter is injured on the job, he or she has a better chance of a successful claim by seeking appropriate legal assistance.
Source: businessinsurance.com, "OSHA ponders new standard for emergency responders", Gloria Gonzalez, March 2, 2016