Oregon Workers’ Compensation Board Finds Firefighter’s Heart Condition Work-Related

After an Administrative Law Judge upheld SAIF’s denial of a firefighter’s occupational disease claim for a heart condition, the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) reversed the decision, finding in favor of the firefighter on the issue of compensability.

The WCB concluded that the opinions of SAIF’s medical experts were insufficient to overcome the “firefighter presumption” in ORS 656.802(4). The presumption holds that death, disability or impairment of health, caused by any disease of the lungs or respiratory tract, hypertension or cardiovascular-renal disease, and resulting from employment as firefighters, is an occupational disease and shall be presumed to result from a firefighter’s employment.

The WCB found that SAIF had not established that the firefighter’s heart condition was unrelated to his employment. SAIF was ordered to process the claim and pay the firefighter’s litigation costs.