The State Government has recently announced a full inquiry into conditions at the firefighter training centre in Fiskville after allegations that trainees were exposed to toxic substances through training.
Research indicates that firefighters have a much higher chance of developing particular cancers because of the substances they are exposed to over the course of their duties. Other states in Australia such as Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia have a system where particular cancers are deemed to be caused by a firefighter's duties, reducing the burden of proof on the injured worker. Unfortunately, this legislation is not currently in place in Victoria.
In addition to their exposure to poisonous substances whilst fighting blazes, allegations have also been raised that toxic substances were incorrectly disposed of and buried at the Fiskville site where firefighters are required to undertake their training. It is hoped the enquiry will shed some light on the situation in Fiskville and alert potentially effected servicemen and women, as well as their families, of the dangers they were exposed to.
Despite the lack of legislation, it is now well recognised that certain occupations have a higher risk of particular cancers because of the nature of their duties, such as outdoor workers, welders and emergency service personnel. If you or someone you know has developed an illness that might have been caused by work, we invite you to speak to one of our expert injury solicitors on (03) 9321 9988.