News and Analysis
OMA Connections Partner Bricker & Eckler posted: “On April 10, 2018, in his 12th wave of judicial nominees, President Trump nominated Ohio’s Administrator and Chief Executive Officer of the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Sarah Daggett Morrison.
“Appointed by Governor Kasich, Administrator Morrison oversees the $25 billion and an agency staff of 1,800. Prior to her appointment, she served for four years as the general counsel and chief ethics officer of the BWC. Before entering state service, Morrison was a partner in the Columbus office of Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, where she practiced complex civil and commercial litigation.
“If confirmed, Administrator Morrison will serve as a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.”
Congratulations, Sarah! 4/11/2018
OMA Connections Partner, Bricker & Eckler, posted an important caution to employers about Violations of Specific Safety Requirements: “Unfortunately, most employers don’t know a lot about a Violation of Specific Safety Requirement (VSSR) until one is filed against them by an injured employee.
“And most employers think that because they are OSHA compliant, they are covered – not true. The specific safety requirements of the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) are set forth in the Ohio Administrative Code and, are many times, stricter than OSHA.
“So, what is a VSSR anyway? In addition to “regular” workers’ compensation benefits, an injured employee may be eligible for a VSSR award if the injury, illness or death was caused by the employer’s failure to comply with specific safety requirements.”
Read on. 4/3/2018
The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) announced: “A diversity expert with the state of Ohio joined the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Monday as its first director of Inclusion & Diversity.
“Carolina Thatcher assumes the role following a similar stint with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, where she designed and implemented an inclusion and diversity strategic plan to recruit and retain top talent and better serve the agency’s customers.
“At Job and Family Services, Thatcher’s duties included curriculum development, training and implementation, and serving on several multi-agency inclusion and diversity committees across the state. Prior to that she worked as an insurance underwriter for State Farm Insurance in Newark and as an assistant program director for East End Community Services Corp. in Dayton, where she established the nonprofit as a leading agency on immigrant issues.
“A native of the Republic of Chile in South America, Thatcher speaks Spanish and English and holds a master’s degree in public administration from Wright State University. She and her family live in Hillard.” 4/5/2018
OSHA’s respirable crystalline silica standard requires employers to take steps to protect workers from exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust, which can cause serious silica-related diseases.
General industry employers must comply with all requirements of the standard by June 23, 2018.
Workers can be exposed to the dust during these and other activities:
- Manufacture of glass, pottery, ceramic, brick, concrete, asphalt roofing, jewelry, artificial stone, porcelain, or structural clay products
- Use of industrial sand in operations such as foundry work
OMA is holding a webinar on the standard on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Register here. 3/24/2018
The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) posts: “With smartphones, busy schedules and multitasking, it’s easier than ever to be distracted while driving. In fact, it’s now the No. 1 cause of crashes in the U.S., with nearly 3,500 Americans killed by distracted driving in 2015.
“April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the perfect time to discuss the dangers of this growing problem with family, friends and co-workers. At BWC, we’re doing our part to raise awareness about distracted driving as part of our newest safety campaign.”
Here are safe driving resources from the BWC. 3/27/2018
According to the agency, OSHA will start enforcement of the final rule on occupational exposure to beryllium in construction, shipyard, and general industries on May 11, 2018.
The start of enforcement had previously been set for March 12, 2018. In response to feedback from stakeholders, the agency is considering technical updates to clarify and simplify compliance. In the interim, if an employer fails to meet the new exposure limits, OSHA will inform the employer and offer assistance to ensure compliance.
Here is more information. 3/19/2018
The March 29 BWC webinar provides information about preparing for an audit, review of estimated annual premium, outstanding balances certified to the Ohio Attorney General, the Better You, Better Ohio!™ program, upcoming important dates, and the monthly safety tip.
Read more and register here. 3/18/2018
Here’s a short video from OMA Connections Partner, Working Partners(R), with a few tips about managing reasonable suspicion in your workplace. 3/12/2018
From OMA Connections Partner, Frantz Ward: “Thanks to a recent federal appellate court decision, OSHA now has even more leeway to issue costly repeat citations to employers. As many employers know, there are different classifications for civil violations of OSHA regulations, including other-than-serious, serious, repeat, and willful. Penalties, both monetary and non-monetary, increase with higher classification levels. OSHA recently increased the maximum penalty for repeat violations to $129,336, and additional increases to the maximum penalty are expected.”
And: “… on February 14, 2018, a federal appellate court gave OSHA unlimited latitude to search employer citation histories as far back as necessary to establish repeat violations.”
Read more about this from Frantz Ward here. 3/2/2018
Here’s part of the OMA Workers’ Compensation Services team at the BWC Safety Congress & Expo this week: Karen James, Jeremy Sesco, Georgia Booth and Dan Noreen.
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) awarded four Ohio employers with Safety Innovation Awards for innovations that addressed safety concerns in their workplaces.
The awards were presented during BWC’s Safety Congress & Expo, the agency’s annual occupational health and safety conference at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
The winners and cash awards include:
- 1st place ($6,000 award): Navistar, Springfield
- 2nd place ($4,000 award): MPW Industrial Services, Hebron
- 3rd place ($3,000 award): Terracon Consultants Inc., Cincinnati
- 4th place ($1,500 award): Ramco Electric Motors, Inc., Greenville
MPW Industrial Services also was selected to receive the People’s Choice Award by OSC18 attendees and will receive an additional $1,000.
The four finalists, selected from dozens of applicants, showcased their innovations at the Safety Congress Expo Marketplace this week. A panel of independent judges evaluated and scored the innovations based on a number of criteria, including risk reduction, innovation and cost savings, presentation quality and potential for the innovation to be used by other employers.
Read more about the winning innovations here. 3/8/2018