News and Analysis
By a vote of 50-48, the U.S. Senate this week disapproved the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) “Clarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness” (Volks Rule).
Under the OSH Act, employers are required to record and maintain a log of workplace injuries and illnesses. The law explicitly states employers can be cited for record-keeping violations within six months of the injury or illness occurring.
Two federal courts have rejected OSHA’s attempt to extend this statute of limitations to five years after a report. Yet, OSHA had issued this final regulation anyway extending the threat of penalty up to five years.
A resolution of disapproval passed the House of Representatives on March 1, 2017 and this week the Senate adopted the resolution under the Congressional Review Act, an indication that Congress believed OSHA had exceed its authority in issuing the final rule.
The resolution will now head to President Trump to sign; he has indicated he will sign the resolution. 3/23/2017
OSHA has established an email notification system to provide recordkeeping reminders as well as updates on a new requirement that employers electronically submit their injury and illness logs to the agency.
This year’s deadline is July 1, 2017. OSHA is not accepting electronic submissions at this time, but will notify interested parties when and how to provide electronic submissions. To receive these notifications, sign up online. 3/17/2017
Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison this week proposed a $1 billion rebate for Ohio’s private and public employers, the third such rebate since 2013.
If approved by the BWC board of directors, more than 200,000 eligible private and public employers would receive a rebate equal to 66% of premiums for the 2015 policy year that ended June 30, 2016 (calendar year 2015 for public employers). The proposal was presented to the board at its meeting this week. If approved at the board’s April meeting, BWC could begin issuing checks in early July.
OMA president Eric Burkland released a statement, saying: “Under the leadership of Governor Kasich and Administrator Morrison, the BWC is improving on many fronts and today’s announcement is just another example of how the agency continues to be responsive to the economic needs of employers while improving services to injured workers. Money going to back to the employer only happens because of prudent financial management and operational efficiencies. The announcement today is another example of the BWC working to make Ohio’s workers’ compensation system a competitive advantage for Ohio.”
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) board of directors voted this week to keep the overall average rate level for Ohio private employers steady for the policy year that begins July 1.
Average rate levels for private employers have been reduced by 28.2% since the end of 2010 and are now at their lowest level in 40 years.
The actual premium paid by individual private employers depends on a number of factors, including the expected future claims costs in their industry, their company’s recent claims history, and their participation in various programs. 3/16/2017
This week the House Insurance Committee accepted a new version of House Bill 27, the budget bill for the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC).
Among the multiple changes in the bill is an OMA supported measure that reduces from two years to one year the statute of limitation for a worker to report an injury.
The committee is set to hear additional testimony and possible amendments next week. The committee did report out the Industrial Commission budget bill. 3/16/2017
Thank you OMA members for taking the time to stop by our booth at the Ohio Safety Congress & Expo this week. We were thrilled to see so many of our friends! 3/8/2017
The loss of just one hour of sleep effects workplaces more than you may have considered.
- There is a 5.7-percent increase in workplace and occupational accidents and a 68-percent increase in the severity of those accidents on the Monday following DST change in March.
- There is a 17-percent increase in fatal traffic crashes on the Monday following DST change in March.
- There is a 5-percent increase in the heart attack rate in the first three weekdays following DST change in March.
- However, there’s no significant increase in accidents or heart attacks during switch back to standard time in the fall. One-hour of additional sleep is a good thing.
Read more from the BWC social media team and stay safe next week! 3/9/2017
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) this week presented individual awards of up to $6,000 to five Ohio employers who developed innovative solutions to reduce potential workplace injuries.
The BWC’s annual Safety Innovation Awards were presented during the 2017 Ohio Safety Congress & Expo, BWC’s annual three-day occupational safety, health and workers’ compensation conference at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
The awards for this year’s competition include:
- 1st place ($6,000 award): ICP Adhesives and Sealants, Norton
- 2nd place ($4,000 award): C&K Industrial Services Inc., Cleveland
- 3rd place ($3,000 award): Holloway, Henderson & Martin LLC, Pickerington
- Honorable Mention ($1,500 award): Suburban Steel Supply Company, Gahanna
- Honorable Mention ($1,500 award): Ames Arboreal Group, Columbus
Holloway, Henderson & Martin LLC was also selected to receive the People’s Choice Award by OSC17 attendees and will receive an additional $1,000.
The five finalists showcased their innovations at the Safety Congress Expo Marketplace. A panel of independent judges evaluated and scored the innovations based on a number of criteria, including risk reduction, innovation, cost savings, potential for the innovation to be used by other employers and presentation quality.
This week, Tim Bainbridge, Chairman of the Industrial Commission of Ohio (IC), defended the agency’s 2018-2019 budget request before the House Insurance Committee. The IC adjudicates contested workers’ compensation claims.
The budget request is $103.6MM, a 1.3 % decrease from Fiscal Years 2016-2017.
Bainbridge testified: “As a non-general revenue fund agency, funded by an Administrative Cost Fund (ACF) surcharge to the employers’ workers’ compensation coverage base rate, the Industrial Commission continues to pass along savings in our daily operations to our customers.
“As an example of our efficiency, the Ohio Industrial Commission District Hearing Officer and Staff Hearing Officer claims were heard on average, at 35 days, with 93% meeting the statutory 52 day time frame. The Ohio Industrial Commission adjudicated more than 127,000 claims in Fiscal Year 2016, of which only 69 were advanced through a writ of mandamus to the Tenth District Court of Appeals.
“In Calendar Year 2016, there were 18 appeals filed with the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court issued 8 decisions, 7 of which affirmed the Industrial Commission, giving the Commission an 88 % affirmation rate.
“The Ohio Industrial Commission has reduced staff by 44% through attrition and technology upgrades from 643 positions in 1997 to 360 positions at the end of Calendar Year 2016, saving nearly $46MM in cumulative payroll without sacrificing the quality of service to our customers.” 3/2/2017
The Ohio Safety Congress & Expo is a one-stop shop for your safety, human resource and workers’ compensation training. Continuing education credit is available for many professional designations.
Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor will kick off OSC17 during the opening general session Wednesday, March 8 at 9:45 a.m.
Registration is free. The event is March 8-10.