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Connecticut firefighters at risk for workplace injuries

Firefighters do valuable work. They are often at the forefront of dangerous residential and commercial fires in Connecticut, and risk their lives and safety to rescue others from danger. Though they are professionals who are specially trained in their field, sometimes work-related injuries occur while they are fighting fires or otherwise performing their jobs.

Firefighters most commonly report injuries due to bodily reaction or overexertion, with approximately 45 percent of firefighters' reporting injuries in 2011 due to one of these factors. The conditions in which firefighters must work are often extreme, so it is no surprise that these types of ailments are common. Other common injuries reported by firefighters include harmful contact with equipment or objects, as well as slips, trips, and falls.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011, 14,890 nonfatal occupational illness and injury cases were reported by firefighters, which was an 18 percent increase from the previous year. In recent years, an average of 14,700 firefighters experienced nonfatal injuries that led to them missing work.

Sometimes firefighters may suffer from fatal on-the-job injuries. Most commonly, these fatal injuries stem from the conditions surrounding the fires themselves, and are often caused by a collapsing building or other dangerous structural elements. Entering a burning building can be dangerous due to the unpredictable nature of fire and how a building might react to the conditions. In recent years, an average of 31 firefighters have died annually according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Firefighters who have been injured on the job may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits, as may the family of a firefighter who died on the job. An injured firefighter or his or her loved ones may benefit from legal counsel in these matters, as recovering owed workers' compensation can sometimes be challenging.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics "Firefighter Factsheet," accessed March 18, 2016

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