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OSHA Proceeds with Electronic Recordkeeping Implementation

July 21, 2017

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will launch on August 1, 2017, the Injury Tracking Application (ITA). The web-based form allows employers to electronically submit required injury and illness data from their completed 2016 OSHA Form 300As. The application will be accessible from the ITA web page.

Last month, OSHA published a notice of proposed rulemaking to extend the deadline for submitting 2016 Form 300A to December 1, 2017, to “allow affected entities sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the electronic reporting system, and to provide the new administration an opportunity to review the new electronic reporting requirements prior to their implementation.”

According to OSHA, the data submission process involves four steps: (1) Creating an establishment; (2) adding 300A summary data; (3) submitting data to OSHA; and (4) reviewing the confirmation email. The secure website offers three options for data submission. One option will enable users to manually enter data into a web form. Another option will give users the ability to upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time. A third option will allow users of automated recordkeeping systems to transmit data electronically via an application programming interface.

The ITA web page includes information on reporting requirements, a list of frequently asked questions and a link to request assistance with completing the form.

We will update you as the proposed December 1, 2017 filing date approaches. 7/18/2017  

BWC Employer Webinars Scheduled

July 21, 2017

BWC’s 20-minute webinars are proving to be very popular! Next up: how to read your invoice and how to make a payment and understand your payment details.

You can view the webinars from the comfort of your office or attend in person at a location near you. By attending in person, you will have the opportunity to meet with a BWC representative.

Also, it’s not too late to sign up for the July 27 webinar on policy year 2017 renewal, the 2-percent early pay discount and future dating of payments. 7/14/2017

OSHA Published Guide on New Silica Dust Rule

July 21, 2017

OSHA has released a Small Entity Compliance Guide for General Industry and Maritime to help small businesses comply with the agency’s Final Rule to Protect Workers from Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica.

The guide describes the steps that employers are required to take to protect employees in general industry and maritime from the hazards associated with silica exposure. These requirements include: assessing worker exposures; using engineering and work practice controls to keep exposures below a specified safety threshold; and offering medical exams to certain highly exposed workers.

Enforcement of the final rule in general industry and maritime is scheduled to begin June 23, 2018. 7/18/2017

Employer Victory at BWC

July 14, 2017

When Governor Kasich signed the Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) budget bill, a long sought provision was finally won by the employer community. For years workers had two years to initiate a workers’ compensation claim. Under the BWC budget bill (see analysis), a workers’ compensation claim arising on or after the bill’s effective date (unofficially late September) is barred unless the worker makes the claim within one year.

This is a big win for employers. The change has the potential to spur faster treatment to injured workers, cutting down on health care costs and reducing lost time and productivity. 7/13/2017

BWC Offers Future-Dating of Premium Payments

July 14, 2017

The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) has announced that a process for future dating payments is now available for customers through its website. Employers can schedule payments for their premium installments to ensure they maintain active coverage and comply with the true-up reconciliation.

The first day the offering was available, June 30, 650 payments for almost $2 million were scheduled for payment to BWC on July 3, 2017.

Here is more information from BWC about the service offering, and here are a few important points about future dating payments:

  • ACH transactions only
  • No credit card payments
  • Your bank may require an authorization code from BWC, it is the employer’s responsibility to provide to its bank with the BWC debit blocker code: #3311334187

7/12/2017

Daily Safety Checklist for Powered Industrial Trucks

July 7, 2017

Through its long-standing national alliance with OSHA, the Industrial Truck Association has developed a Sample Daily Checklist for Powered Industrial Trucks to help employers meet their obligation to train operators. Check it out here. 7/5/2017

OSHA Proposes Delay of Compliance Date for Electronic Recordkeeping Rule

June 30, 2017

OMA Connections Partner, Dinsmore, posted this update on the OSHA electronic recordkeeping rule this week: “… OSHA announced it plans to publish a formal proposal delaying the compliance date of the electronic recordkeeping rule. … OSHA now proposes to postpone the deadline to December 1, 2017. According to OSHA, this would “provide the new administration an opportunity to review the new electronic reporting requirements prior to their implementation.” The delay would also “allow affected entities sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the electronic reporting system, which will not be available until August 1.”

“OSHA stating the electronic reporting system will be available August 1 is an indication the agency intends to move forward with its implementation of the rule. OSHA also notes, however, it “intends to issue a separate proposal to reconsider, revise, or remove other provisions of the prior final rule. …””

OSHA invites the public to comment on the proposed deadline extension. Comments may be submitted electronically. See the Federal Register notice for details. The deadline for submitting comments is July 13, 2017. 6/27/2017

Breaking Down Types of Voluntary Abandonment Cases

June 30, 2017

OMA Connections Partner, Calfee, recently wrote about the complex area of “voluntary abandonment” with respect to workers’ compensation benefits: “At the end of last year, the Ohio Supreme Court issued its decision in State ex rel. Cordell v. Pallet Cos. … holding that a post-accident positive drug test leading to employment termination did not bar the receipt of temporary total (wage replacement) compensation, even though the claimant had no job to return to as a result of his drug use. …

“… readers now should be aware that the Ohio Industrial Commission took the occasion of the Cordell case to issue an interpretative memorandum on how the “voluntary abandonment” doctrine should be applied in hearings before it …”

In this post, Calfee breaks down the three types of voluntary abandonment cases described in the Industrial Commission memo and concludes: “… every “voluntary abandonment” case must be viewed and decided on its own facts.” 6/27/2017

Senate Raids WC Funds

June 23, 2017

To help fill a hole in the state operating budget, the Senate would raid the budgets of the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and the Industrial Commission, budgets paid for by employer premiums and assessments, not taxes.

“This language sets an extremely dangerous precedent of allowing the state to “raid” the budgets of these exclusively employer-funded agencies. Unlike the main operating budget, appropriations for the BWC and IC operations are funded entirely by employer premiums and assessments. This amendment is asking Ohio’s employers to subsidize all state operations in the form of their BWC premium payments,” wrote the OMA, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Businesses and Council of Retail Merchants in a letter to legislative leaders, asking that the raid be stopped.

“We are very concerned this language gives this and future administrations the go-ahead to siphon funds when budget shortfalls occur. There could also be a legal issue with directing funds to the GRF (general revenue fund) that are constitutionally set for the treatment of injured workers and promotion of safer workplaces,” said the business groups. 6/22/2017

Senate Panel Sends BWC Budget to Senate Floor

June 23, 2017

During a busy week at the Ohio Senate, the Insurance Committee moved House Bill 27, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) budget bill. The committee accepted a substitute version of the bill that made several changes to the House passed version.

Among the more headline grabbing issues, the Senate removed a provision that would have prevented illegal aliens from receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

A second high profile provision deals with the time an injured worker has to report an injury; the House passed reduction from two years to one year was retained by the Senate. This change is heavily supported by the OMA and business groups.

The Senate plans to the vote the bill out of the chamber next week, leaving precious little time for a possible conference committee. As a budget bill, the bill must be signed by the governor by the end of June. 6/22/2017