Mass. governor signs bill to make firefighter cancer work-related injury

The law means medical treatments and time off due to their illness will be covered for all firefighters diagnosed with cancer


By FireRescue1 Staff

LYNN, Mass. — A bill was recently signed into law that designates cancer as a work-related injury for firefighters in the state of Massachusetts.

Boston Globe reported that Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill into law that covers medical treatment and time missed due to illness for all firefighters diagnosed with cancer.

Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill into law that covers medical treatment and time missed due to illness for all firefighters diagnosed with cancer. (Photo/Gov. Charlie Baker's Office)
Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill into law that covers medical treatment and time missed due to illness for all firefighters diagnosed with cancer. (Photo/Gov. Charlie Baker's Office)

“Cancer is a very real hazard of the job, and we want to make sure we’re doing what we need to do to help those who serve,” Baker said.

The law means that firefighters will no longer have to use sick and personal days to take off for treatments, according to International Association of Firefighters Secretary-Treasurer Edward Kelly.

“As firefighters, we accept the sacrifice of our job as part of our calling,” Kelly said. “But when we get diagnosed with cancer, and we run out of sick leave and we go off the payroll and lose our health care, that is just wrong.”

The law was also praised for protecting female firefighters by covering breast and reproductive cancers.

“We realized that cancer knows no gender and we needed to have the same benefits for our increasing number of female firefighters across the state,” Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts President Richard MacKinnon said.

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