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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

 

    


Workers often sustain an injury or contract a disease arising out of their employment for which the employer and worker’s compensation insurer deny worker’s compensation benefits, on the grounds that the worker cannot identify a specific traumatic event that caused or precipitated the injury or disease.  Such a denial may be contrary to fact and law. 

The real irony of infectious diseases in the work environment is that how do you prove that you became infected in the work area.  There are no outward signs to the body that someone is now infected.  How does one prove this claim?

Workers’ Occupational Insurance is based on verifiable injuries.  I went to the work area as a complete worker and left as a damaged employee. So…How does someone demonstrate to some unknown person that 1) have they have ever used IV drugs, 2) what is their personal sexual preference, 3) have they been monogamous, or 4)  do they possess a tattoo. 

This group is to help support those infected in the work area and to give support on challenging the system for a change to it.

 
 
     71st OREGON LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY--2001 Regular Session
 
NOTE:  Matter within  { +  braces and plus signs + } in an
amended section is new. Matter within  { -  braces and minus
signs - } is existing law to be omitted. New sections are within
 { +  braces and plus signs + } .
 
LC 1308
 
                           A-Engrossed
 
                         House Bill 2128
                  Ordered by the House April 25
            Including House Amendments dated April 25
 
Ordered printed by the Speaker pursuant to House Rule 12.00A (5).
  Presession filed (at the request of House Interim Business and
  Commerce Committee)
 
 
                             SUMMARY
 
The following summary is not prepared by the sponsors of the
measure and is not a part of the body thereof subject to
consideration by the Legislative Assembly. It is an editor's
brief statement of the essential features of the measure.
 
    { - Requires workers' compensation plans of certain cities to
provide coverage for hepatitis C for city firefighters, law
enforcement officers, emergency medical technicians and
corrections officers. - }  Creates presumption of compensability
for hepatitis C for  { + career + } firefighters, law enforcement
officers,  { +  career + } emergency medical technicians and
corrections officers in certain circumstances. { +  Requires
certain cities to provide equivalent workers' compensation
coverage. + }
 
 
                        A BILL FOR AN ACT
Relating to workers' compensation coverage for hepatitis C;
  creating new provisions; and amending ORS 656.802.
Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon:
  SECTION 1. ORS 656.802 is amended to read:
  656.802. (1)(a) As used in this chapter, 'occupational disease'
means any disease or infection arising out of and in the course
of employment caused by substances or activities to which an
employee is not ordinarily subjected or exposed other than during
a period of regular actual employment therein, and which requires
medical services or results in disability or death, including:
  (A) Any disease or infection caused by ingestion of, absorption
of, inhalation of or contact with dust, fumes, vapors, gases,
radiation or other substances.
  (B) Any mental disorder, whether sudden or gradual in onset,
which requires medical services or results in physical or mental
disability or death.
  (C) Any series of traumatic events or occurrences which
requires medical services or results in physical disability or
death.
  (b) As used in this chapter, 'mental disorder' includes any
physical disorder caused or worsened by mental stress.
  (2)(a) The worker must prove that employment conditions were
the major contributing cause of the disease.
  (b) If the occupational disease claim is based on the worsening
of a preexisting disease or condition pursuant to ORS 656.005
(7), the worker must prove that employment conditions were the
major contributing cause of the combined condition and
pathological worsening of the disease.
  (c) Occupational diseases shall be subject to all of the same
limitations and exclusions as accidental injuries under ORS
656.005 (7).
  (d) Existence of an occupational disease or worsening of a
preexisting disease must be established by medical evidence
supported by objective findings.
  (e) Preexisting conditions shall be deemed causes in
determining major contributing cause under this section.
  (3) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a
mental disorder is not compensable under this chapter unless the
worker establishes all of the following:
  (a) The employment conditions producing the mental disorder
exist in a real and objective sense.
  (b) The employment conditions producing the mental disorder are
conditions other than conditions generally inherent in every
working situation or reasonable disciplinary, corrective or job
performance evaluation actions by the employer, or cessation of
employment or employment decisions attendant upon ordinary
business or financial cycles.
  (c) There is a diagnosis of a mental or emotional disorder
which is generally recognized in the medical or psychological
community.
 
  (d) There is clear and convincing evidence that the mental
disorder arose out of and in the course of employment.
  (4) Death, disability or impairment of health of firefighters
of any political division who have completed five or more years
of employment as firefighters, caused by any disease of the lungs
or respiratory tract, hypertension or cardiovascular-renal
disease, and resulting from their employment as firefighters is
an ' occupational disease.' Any condition or impairment of health
arising under this subsection shall be presumed to result from a
firefighter's employment. However, any such firefighter must have
taken a physical examination upon becoming a firefighter, or
subsequently thereto, which failed to reveal any evidence of such
condition or impairment of health which preexisted employment.
Denial of a claim for any condition or impairment of health
arising under this subsection must be on the basis of clear and
convincing medical evidence that the cause of the condition or
impairment is unrelated to the firefighter's employment.
   { +  (5)(a) Death, disability or impairment of health of
career firefighters, law enforcement officers, career emergency
medical technicians and corrections officers of any political
division caused by hepatitis C and resulting from their
employment is an ' occupational disease.' Any condition or
impairment of health caused by hepatitis C shall be presumed to
result from a career firefighter's, law enforcement officer's,
career emergency medical technician's or corrections officer's
employment if:
  (A) The career firefighter, law enforcement officer, career
emergency medical technician or corrections officer tested
negative for hepatitis C:
  (i) Prior to being employed as a career firefighter, law
enforcement officer, career emergency medical technician or
corrections officer;
  (ii) Subsequent to such employment in a test conducted at the
request of the career firefighter, law enforcement officer,
career emergency medical technician or corrections officer; or
  (iii) Subsequent to such employment and the employer elects to
utilize testing for hepatitis C to establish a baseline for all
career firefighters, law enforcement officers, career emergency
medical technicians or corrections officers;
  (B) The career firefighter, law enforcement officer, career
emergency medical technician or corrections officer experienced
during the course of employment an incident with the potential to
transfer hepatitis C that was reported to the employer pursuant
to ORS 656.265; and
  (C) The career firefighter, law enforcement officer, career
emergency medical technician or corrections officer was tested
within six months of the incident with the potential to transfer
hepatitis C and the test was positive for the presence of
hepatitis C.
  (b) Denial of a claim for any condition or impairment of health
under this subsection must be based on clear and convincing
medical evidence that the cause of the condition or impairment is
unrelated to the career firefighter's, law enforcement officer's,
career emergency medical technician's or corrections officer's
employment.
  (c) Tests required to establish the presumption of
compensability under paragraph (a) of this subsection are
voluntary. If a worker elects to have the preemployment and
post-incident tests, the costs shall be paid by the employer.
  (d) As used in this subsection, 'incident with the potential to
transfer hepatitis C' means any event involving direct exposure
to blood or other bodily fluids of an individual, including but
not limited to needlestick accidents, bites and eye splashes.
  (6) As used in this chapter:
  (a) 'Career firefighter' means a firefighter who receives wages
and retirement benefits for service as a firefighter.
  (b) 'Career emergency medical technician' means an emergency
medical technician who receives wages and retirement benefits for
service as an emergency medical technician. + }
  SECTION 2.  { + Sections 3 and 4 of this 2001 Act are added to
and made a part of ORS chapter 656. + }
  SECTION 3.  { + Any person employed as a career firefighter,
law enforcement officer, career emergency medical technician or
corrections officer on the effective date of this 2001 Act who is
tested for hepatitis C within 60 days of the effective date of
this 2001 Act and whose test results fail to reveal the presence
of hepatitis C is deemed to have satisfied the requirements of
ORS 656.802 (5)(a)(A). + }
  SECTION 4.  { + A municipal fire and police disability plan
that covers workers exempt from the provisions of this chapter
pursuant to ORS 656.027 (6) shall provide coverage for hepatitis
C as provided by ORS 656.802 (5)(a). + }
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