HARTFORD- A bill that would make certain local firefighters eligible for workers’ compensation coverage for mental or emotional damage has passed the Connecticut House of Representatives with support of State Reps. Jason Perillo (R-113) and Lawrence Miller (R-122).
Under the proposed legislation the current workers’ compensation statutes would be expanded to include firefighters who are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing the death of a colleague in the line of duty.
Rep. Perillo said, “Unfortunately, Employee Assistance Programs do not always meet the needs of individuals who have been exposed to the death of a co-worker. This bill addresses that problem and provides additional resources through Worker’s Compensation.”
To qualify, the diagnosis would need to be made by a licensed and board certified mental health professional. Connecticut police officers currently receive similar protections.
Rep. Miller spoke in favor of the bill, saying eighty-five percent of local Connecticut firefighters are volunteers and should have this benefit.
The House of Representatives voted 143-to-3 in favor of the bill Wednesday. It now awaits further action in the State Senate.