A bill that was recently introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature would change the status of volunteer firefighters to make them municipal employees under the law. As a result, they would then be covered under workers’ compensation laws and be eligible for workers’ compensation insurance if they are injured in the while performing their heroic duties.
While this bill has not been enacted into law, it addresses important issues. The bill also could have an important effect on the state’s workers’ compensation funds, especially since firefighters’ work is quite hazardous.
Status Change for Firefighters
Implied in that status change, firefighters would become paid employees of the municipalities. This may have a profound impact on rural communities in the state and those who may be strapped for funds. This is usually the reason why a community has a volunteer firefighter squad instead of paid firefighters. Many communities may have to make large economic adjustments in order to pay firefighters. Additionally, this would mean a major lifestyle change for those who choose to serve as volunteer firefighters.
Fundamentally, this change seems to make sense since firefighters are subjected to very dangerous conditions during their work. If they are injured as a volunteer, it could spill over into other aspects of their lives, including the inability to work in a paid employment position.
Injuries Among Firefighters
Firefighters’ jobs include more than just fighting fires, so injuries can result from other hazards. Clearly, many firefighters suffer from injuries related to fire and smoke exposure; however, firefighters also suffer from overexertion and strains. Slip and fall accidents are also common. Other risks can include being attacked by an animal or person.
Additionally, most firefighters injured are between the ages of 20 and 29 years old. This may be because most firefighters are within that age group, or it may suggest a lack of training for younger firefighters. Also, older firefighters may not be doing as strenuous tasks as younger firefighters, and they may be mentoring younger firefighters instead of carrying out risky tasks. Statistics show that most of the injuries incurred by firefighters happen when they are handling charged hose lines and are most often injured in their upper extremities.
Chester County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich & Sweeney, LLC Advocate for All Injured Workers
If you were injured at work or while volunteering, it is essential to speak to an experienced lawyer about your options. Depending on the facts of the case, injured workers may be entitled to compensation. If your employer did not adequately supply protective gear or proper training, they may be held accountable for your injuries. Our skilled Chester County worker’s compensation lawyers at Wusinich & Sweeney, LLC will assess your case and determine if you are eligible for compensation. Contact us online or at 610-594-1600 to schedule a free consultation. Located in Exton, Pennsylvania, we also serve clients in Downingtown, West Chester, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.