News and Analysis
This week, OMA member Cathy Duhigg Gannon, Manager, Workers’ Compensation, Eaton, testified on behalf of the OMA Safety and Workers’ Compensation Committee before the House Insurance Committee against House Bill 268. The bill proposes, among other things, to create a new, higher risk Ohio Self-Insured Guarantee Fund.
In her testimony Duhigg Gannon said, “By lowering the credit threshold to Ba2, Ohio would be allowing companies with non-investment grade financials to be considered for self-insurance for the first time ever, which in turn would create a much weaker guarantee pool. This is a major risk for any company that would become part of the new “B” fund and likely as well for the state of Ohio, as in the event of cash constraints or bankruptcies during a financial downturn, these sources would be called upon to finance claims in the system as well as claims yet to be filed against these defaulting self-insured employers.” 12/14/2017
The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the United States Coast Guard have provided guidance to DOT-regulated employers about what their DOT policies will need to contain about the changes to 49 CFR Part 40, which are effective January 1, 2018.
See the DOT notice here.
Further, participants in the Ohio BWC’s Drug-Free Safety Program, DFSP, are required to conform, at minimum, to the federal testing model.
On January 11, OMA will offer a webinar to help people who are relatively new to OSHA recordkeeping learn what is required, including completing logs, notifying OSHA and electronic filing.
Register here. $29 for members; $39 for non-members; no charge for members who purchase OMA Workers’ Compensation Services.
Here is the 2018 OMA safety webinar schedule. 12/1/2017
The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) award 16 Ohio employers a total of $372,967 in grants in October to purchase equipment designed to substantially reduce or eliminate workplace injuries and illnesses.
The Safety Intervention Grant program matches an employer’s investment 3-to-1 up to a maximum of $40,000. Quarterly data reports and follow-up case studies measure the effectiveness of employers’ safety interventions and establish best practices for accident and injury prevention.
Learn more about the Safety Intervention Grant Program here. 12/4/2017
Save the date for the 2018 Ohio Safety Congress & Expo, BWC’s annual occupational safety, health and workers’ compensation event. Safety Congress will be March 7-9, 2018, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Check it out here. 12/1/2017
According to a national OSHA news release issued on Nov. 22, “To allow affected employers additional time to become familiar with a new electronic reporting system launched on August 1, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has extended the date by which employers must electronically report injury and illness data through the Injury Tracking Application (ITA) to December 15, 2017.
“OSHA’s final rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses sets December 15, 2017, as the date for compliance (a two-week extension from the December 1, 2017, compliance date in the proposed rule). The rule requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness information they are already required to keep under existing OSHA regulations. …
“OSHA is currently reviewing the other provisions of its final rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, and intends to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking to reconsider, revise, or remove portions of that rule in 2018.”
Here’s an OMA recorded webinar about how to submit your 300A, which is due from virtually every Ohio manufacturer with 20 or more employees. (Use your My OMA login; the webinar is accurate except for the new filing deadline of December 15, 2017.) 11/22/2017
After listening to a long list of opposition testimony, the House Insurance Committee passed House Bill 380, which would block illegal aliens from receiving benefits through Ohio workers’ compensation system.
A similar provision was included in the House passed version of the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) budget bill earlier this year. That provision was stripped from the bill during Senate deliberations.
House Bill 380 contains an amendment which would ensure that employers who act ethically and legally during the hiring process would not be subject to new litigation claims. 11/30/2018
“Results from a national study show nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in Ohio took a nine percent tumble last year and fell well below the national average for the fourth consecutive year. Ohio experienced 2.7 injuries per 100 full-time employees in 2016, bettering the national average of 3.2,” reported the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC).
BWC wrote: “The labor statistics show an injury rate among Ohio private employers at 2.7 per 100 workers, below the national average of 2.9. A 6.1 percent decline in total private sector injuries from 2015 means 17 fewer Ohio workers were injured each day in 2016 than in the previous year. …
“The results coincide with an overall drop in workplace injury claims in the BWC system. There were 87,883 allowed claims for Ohio employers insured by BWC in 2016, a 16.8 percent drop from 2010. This is the lowest number of claims dating back to at least 1997, when there were more than 277,000 claims.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics survey can be found here. 11/22/2017
This week Senators Frank LaRose (R-Hudson) and Edna Brown (D-Toledo) provided sponsor testimony for Senate Bill 118, which would provide Ohio workers’ compensation benefits to certain emergency personnel for a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) arising from employment without the current requirement of an accompanying physical injury.
This would be a major shift in Ohio’s workers’ compensation law. Unlike previous versions of the bill, Senate Bill 118 would limit benefits to one year and workers who qualify could not simultaneously receive compensation from BWC and a state retirement system disability benefit for PTSD.
A BWC actuarial analysis of the bill found that it would cost local governments $98 million in claims cost. By comparison local governments’ total premium payments now are $190 million.
This proposal has long been opposed by the business community, including OMA, due to the fundamental shift of providing benefits for mental illness without an accompanying physical injury. 11/16/2017
Here’s a reminder that by December 1 2017, all covered establishments must electronically submit to OSHA information from their completed 2016 Form 300A. Generally speaking, all manufacturers with 20 or more employees are considered covered establishments.
OSHA has provided a website that offers three options for data submission: manually enter data into a web form; upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time; or transmit data electronically via an API (application programming interface).
Here’s more from OSHA.
And here is a recorded OMA webinar that reviews the requirements (use your My OMA login). 11/10/2017