Amends GS 97-53, changing the section title to Occupational diseases enumerated (was, Occupational diseases enumerated; when due to exposure to chemicals).
Makes reorganizational changes and creates GS 97-53(a) (Occupational Diseases Due to exposure to Chemicals), making technical changes to GS 97-53(a)(6), the definition for lead poisoning. Creates new GS 97-53(b) (Occupational Diseases of Firefighters), which establishes that any condition or impairment of health caused by any of the six specified diseases will be considered as an occupational disease of firefighters, including but not limited to, hypertension, heart disease, or respiratory disease.
Enacts new GS 97-53.1 (Compensability of firefighter occupational diseases), which includes specified findings by the General Assembly. Provides that it is essential to ensure firefighters are adequately compensated for injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Establishes that the diseases provided for in GS 97-53(b), above, are occupationally related to firefighting for the purpose of determining eligibility for compensation under the Workers' Compensation Act. Sets out the terms and definitions for use in this section, including disability, firefighter, hepatitis, and HIV.
Provides that a firefighter will be presumed to be eligible for compensation for an occupational disease if either of two conditions are met: (1) the firefighter was required to submit to a physical examination upon entering service as a firefighter, the examination failed to reveal any evidence of a firefighter occupational disease described in GS 97-53(b), and the firefighter has completed at least five years of service as a firefighter for the unit of local government and (2) the firefighter was not required to submit to a physical examination upon entering the service as a firefighter and, at the time of disability by an occupational disease described in GS 97-53(b), the firefighter has completed at least five years of continuous service, immediately preceding January 1, 2013, as a firefighter for the unit of local government.
Provides that in cases of cancer, heart disease, hypertension, or respiratory disease, the unit of local government has the burden of proving by a preponderance of competent evidence that the condition was caused by some means other than the firefighter's occupation in order to disqualify the firefighter from receiving compensation. Provides that the provisions of this section applies only to firefighters of units of local government.
This act is effective when it becomes law and applies to claims for workers' compensation benefits filed on or after that date.
Bill H 1000 (2013-2014)Summary date: Apr 18 2013 - More information
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