News and Analysis
The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) created a new video, What to expect in the next 30 days, to familiarize workers and employers with the claim process and to alleviate uncertainty about what to anticipate in the weeks following an injury.
View the 2 1/2 minute video on BWC’s YouTube page and share it with your coworkers and employees. 4/19/2017
Have you thought about implementing the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Drug-Free Safety Program, but can’t spare the time and effort to work on it?
With the right help, now could be the right time! Here’s a short video that will help you decide.
When you’re ready, OMA’s drug-free workplace partner, Working Partners®, a consulting and training firm specializing in drug-free workplace products & services, can help you with every aspect of your program, including qualifying for a premium discount.
Working Partners® will help you create – and provide ongoing support – for your:
- Drug-free workplace policy
- Drug-free employee education
- Drug-free supervisor training
- Drug testing
- Employee assistance resources
The BWC enrollment deadline is May 31.
Ranzy Brown, Safety and Health Consultant, OSHA On-Site Consultation Program at the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) recently blogged: “Last month, I had the pleasure of teaching a class called The Best Kept Secret in Ohio at the Ohio Safety Congress & Expo. My presentation let the audience in on this secret: BWC’s OSHA On-Site Consultation Program. Most of the almost 60 people in the room had never heard of us or what we do.
“Basically, all employers covered by OSHA regulations can request an On-Site consultation. The program gives priority to privately-owned smaller businesses, and those in high-hazard industries. Typically, a grant from OSHA funds 90 percent of the program while BWC covers the other 10 percent … This means there is never any charge to use our services.
” … Our consultants point out (these) hazards with the understanding that the employer will abate the serious ones. Our services are confidential from OSHA, however, if an employer refuses to abate serious hazards, we can refer them for possible enforcement action. While an employer is actively working with OSHA On-Site Consultation, they have “visit in progress” status, which means OSHA cannot open a programmed enforcement inspection.” 4/24/2017
To help employers participate and plan events for Safe + Sound week, June 12-18, OSHA has updated its webpage with sample activities, social media resources, and tools.
Employers are encouraged to host events and activities that showcase the core elements of an effective safety and health program – management leadership, worker participation, and finding and fixing workplace hazards. Visit the Safe + Sound Week page for more information. 4/19/2017
Upcoming free seminars around the state will cover the benefits of participating in the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Destination: Excellence program. BWC staff will cover eligibility requirements, implementation, and financial incentives for enrollment.
Come learn about the valuable services and resources BWC offers to help you make your workplace safer and help you reduce your workers’ compensation costs.
The seminar focuses primarily on the safety and return-to-work options of Destination: Excellence:
- Drug-Free Safety Program
- Industry-Specific Safety Program
- Safety councils
- Transitional Work Bonus Program
- Vocational rehabilitation
Learn more and register here. 4/17/2017
Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Pharmacy Director Johnnie Hanna received the Governor’s Award for Employee Excellence last week for building a model pharmacy program at BWC and for his efforts to help injured workers avoid opioid addiction.
In introducing Hanna at a private Statehouse ceremony, BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison credited the veteran pharmacist and his team for initiatives that have lowered BWC drug costs by $46 million over the last seven years and reduced opioid doses by 18.9 million to nearly half their 2011 levels.
Hanna joined BWC in May 2009 after a career working in the nonprofit health care sector and a four-year term on the State Board of Pharmacy in the 1990s. He is credited with building BWC’s modern pharmacy department and crafting measures designed to mitigate the potential for opioid addiction or dependence.
The Governor’s Award for Employee Excellence is awarded to individuals and groups of state employees for work-related achievements that have made a significant impact on the general public or in the life, safety or property of others, as well as enhanced the state’s image, improved government functions and saved money or increased revenues. 4/17/2017
BWC’s Cari Gray, Industrial Safety Consultant Specialist, recently blogged on the importance of an effective lockout/tagout (LOTO) program: “The importance of locking out can’t be shouted loud enough. There are too many examples of workers not using lockout with horrific consequences. The 18-year-old caught in a large shredder. A 50-something accidentally pulled into a washer. The maintenance worker electrocuted while changing a live outlet at a nursing home. Unfortunately, I could go on for hours. Accidents can strike any industry, any age and any employee skill level. If a company’s management doesn’t take lockout/tagout seriously, neither will workers.
“Don’t feel helpless if you don’t have a program or you’re worried yours isn’t up to par. Our Division of Safety & Hygiene offers classes, videos and expert safety consultants to help you develop or evaluate your program. Just contact them!”
In addition, OMA’s safety webinar on May 4 is Reviewing the Lockout/Tagout OSHA Standard. Register here. 4/13/2017
In the past weeks the House and Senate have both introduced new standalone workers’ compensation bills (HB 161 and SB 118) that would provide workers’ compensation benefits for first responders who are diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Additionally, the House Insurance Committee is debating including an amendment to House Bill 27, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation budget bill, that would do the same. Similar legislation died in the 131st General Assembly.
Under the proposals, first responders who are diagnosed with PTSD under certain eligibility criteria, would qualify for indemnity compensation and medical benefits under Ohio’s workers’ compensation law, regardless of whether there was an accompanying physical injury.
The standalone bills would limit workers’ compensation benefits for PTSD for first responders to one year.
Eliminating the physical injury requirement for benefits would be a major shift in workers’ compensation policy. OMA and its business allies continue to oppose eliminating the physical injury requirement and submitted this letter to House Insurance Committee members, saying: “Selecting one mental condition to the exclusion of all others—much like selecting only a few occupations—will undoubtedly provoke fairness arguments and equal protection challenges in future legislative or judicial actions.” 3/30/2017
The House Insurance Committee is considering an amendment to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation budget bill that would prevent illegal aliens from receiving workers’ compensation benefits if the injured employees can prove their employer knew of their illegal status when hiring them.
Last week the OMA issued a letter to Rep. Tom Brinkman (R-Mt. Lookout), Chairman of the House Insurance Committee, urging caution as the amendment creates a new cause of action against employers. OMA wrote: “It would vacate the no-fault aspect of the system for employers and expose them to litigation risk.”
In response to employer concerns, House leadership worked with OMA to make changes to the amendment that would offer more protections for employers. 3/30/2017
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