News and Analysis
With workplace injuries declining and investment returns increasing, Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud have proposed rebating $1.5 billion to Ohio employers this year.
If the rebate is approved by the BWC board of directors, checks will be issued to employers in September.
The $1.5 billion amounts to about 88% of employer premiums. This would be Ohio’s fifth investment return to employers of at least $1 billion since 2013, and sixth overall during that time. The BWC has also approved a 20% cut in premiums, the largest reduction in 60 years. 5/20/2019
OSHA announced last week it is requesting information that could lead to a possible update to the Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) standard. The agency is interested in comments on the use of control circuit-type devices to isolate energy, as well as the evolving technology for robotics.
OSHA wants feedback regarding how employers have been using control circuit devices, as well as new risks of worker exposure to hazardous energy due to increased interaction with robots. The standard specifies that control circuit devices cannot be used as energy-isolating devices, but the agency recognizes recent technological advances may have improved the safety of control circuit-type devices.
Comments must be submitted on or before August 18, 2019. Comments and materials may be submitted electronically or by facsimile or mail. See the Federal Register notice for submission details. 5/18/2019
On June 6 at 10 a.m., the OMA will offer a webinar to help employers prepare for an OSHA inspection. We’ll cover OSHA’s typical inspection priorities, steps to prepare for an inspection, your possible responses to potential citations, and more. Our subject matter expert is Nate Burgei, a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) and Certified Safety Professional (CSP) with Safex, an OMA Connections Partner. Register here. 5/23/2019
The OMA Safety and Workers’ Compensation Committee this week heard from Ohio’s four area directors from OSHA.
Howie Eberts (Cleveland), Ken Montgomery (Cincinnati), Larry Johnson (Columbus), and Kim Nelson (Toledo) provided members with an in-depth look at how best to handle relations with OSHA, as well as tips and ideas to ensure manufacturer safety.
The four officials welcomed the opportunity to meet with the OMA and its members, and were able to answer a multitude of questions regarding the agency. 5/23/2019
This week, the House Insurance Committee passed the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) budget bill, House Bill 80, out of committee without making changes to the original language.
It was widely speculated the committee would accept a substitute version of the legislation. Instead, the bill was quickly passed and referred to the House Finance Committee, where Administrator Stephanie McCloud gave testimony on Thursday.
A sub bill is expected next week. Rumors are swirling around the Statehouse that the new version of HB 80 may contain provisions to provide PTSD coverage for first responders who do not suffer an accompanying physical injury. The OMA and other business organizations have long advocated against any such change, and this week sent a letter to the Speaker urging the House to keep any new PTSD provisions out of the bill. 5/23/2019
Ohio employers pay, on average, the 16th lowest workers’ compensation premium rates in the nation. That’s according to a recent study by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, which compared the workers’ comp premium rates of all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Over the years, the OMA has worked hard to advocate for more competitive workers’ comp costs. As of 2018, Ohio’s index rate of $1.40 per $100 of payroll was 82% of the national median, according to the Oregon study. Meanwhile, New York had the most expensive index rate at $3.08 per $100 of payroll, while North Dakota was least expensive at $0.82.
As a reminder, the OMA is Ohio’s only workers’ compensation third-party administrator that exclusively serves manufacturers. If your company is not already using OMA Workers’ Compensation Services, check us out and see how the OMA can simplify your workers’ comp responsibilities. 5/15/2019
With summer almost here, OSHA has published its guidance for employers with young workers, especially teenagers who are new to the workforce. The agency states: “First-line supervisors have the greatest opportunity to protect young workers and influence their work habits. Stress safety!” See OSHA’s employer guidance by clicking here. 5/15/2019
Last week, the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation held its 2019 Medical & Health Symposium, themed Comprehensive Care for Injured Workers. More than 800 health care practitioners, staff and legal professionals from around the state attended the two-day event in Columbus.
The goal for the symposium was to address health care issues facing Ohio’s injured workers by bringing together medical and health specialists, along with legal professionals. John Annarino, Chief Medical and Health Officer, said experts nationwide are learning about the BWC’s innovative approaches and programs in caring for Ohio’s workers. 4/26/2019
Friday, May 31, is the next deadline to enroll in these Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) premium-discount bonus programs:
These programs focus on return-to-work for injured workers, efficient management of accounts, and cost-control efforts for employers. Program premium savings are distributed after the completion of the program participation year as a bonus applied to the employer’s policy, if all program requirements are satisfied.
To discuss your options, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of participation, contact the OMA’s Brian Jackson. 4/29/2019
The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is upgrading its systems for better service. Due to systems maintenance, the BWC website, call center and other systems will be unavailable from Friday, May 3, at 5 p.m. until Monday, May 6, at 7 a.m. 5/2/2019