Parole Officers work hard every day to keep our communities safe and to ensure that parolees are finding and retaining employment, finding a suitable place to live, getting treatment for any mental health or addiction issues they may have, and generally staying out of trouble.
All too often, Parole Officers enter homes or encounter situations where they come into contact with dangerous substances like heroin and fentanyl. Just touching fentanyl or accidentally inhaling the substance can be fatal for Parole Officers and requires immediate medical attention because of the risk of adverse health effects such as rapid disorientation, coughing, sedation, respiratory distress or cardiac arrest.
In situations like these, Parole Officers must take time off of work for treatment, evaluation and medical follow up. However this is not considered an allowable claim through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. This creates an undue burden on Parole Officers, forcing them to choose between getting the necessary treatment they need or risking long-term, reoccurring health problems.
Through our Union, we are asking the Ohio Legislature to take up this important issue and to pass a law that would allow all Parole Officers and first responders to be allowed to get the treatment and recovery they need from work-related injuries as a result of coming in contact with dangerous substances like heroin and fentanyl.