Working as a firefighter is an inherently dangerous employment position.
However, it is still the responsibility of the employer to do what is
reasonably possible to make the working conditions for their employees
as safe as possible. But, the work environment for Pennsylvania firefighters
seems to be getting more dangerous with the passage of time. Recent cuts
due to a financial crisis have caused more firefighters to becomeinjured at work.
The number of firefighters on each shift has been reduced from 22 to 18.
This leaves only two firefighters on each apparatus. Across the nation,
the standard is three or four. Volunteers also used to help bump up these
numbers, but they are just not showing up to their calls anymore. These
cuts have caused a 30 percent increase in injuries. In the past year there
have been 76 firefighters on the streets and 108 injuries.
The new fire chief is concerned that this shortage of employees is not
only harmful to the employees themselves, but also to the general public.
It creates the potential for employees to be overworked or not provided
with assistance from enough co-workers, and this leaves them unable to
perform their job duties to the full potential. This can leave the public
in a more dangerous position than if the fire department was fully staffed.
Under Pennsylvania's workers' compensation law, when an employee
suffers from a workplace injury, they are entitled to workers' compensation
benefits. An on-the-job injury can lead to unexpected expenses and other
difficulties. Workers' compensation benefits help injured workers
deal with these unexpected hardships. It can help pay for medical bills,
lost wages and other expenses.
It is always important to initiate the workers' compensation claim
process as expeditiously as possible after the occurrence of an injury.
This will ensure that the injured worker receives benefits in a timely
manner, and that their personal finances will have limited exposure to
the bills that result from the injury.
Source: Reading Eagle, "City fire chief sounds alarm," Jason A. Kahl, Aug. 21, 2012