News and Analysis
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
The BWC’s next employer webinars are scheduled for May 14 and 30. Topics include policy year 2019 renewal (Estimated Annual Premium updates and the annual true-up report), program options for employers, and the monthly safety tip. Follow these links to attend online:1:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 14; or 11:30 a.m. Thursday, May 30. 5/2/2019
Employers participating in a 2018/19 group experience rating or group retrospective rating plan — and that had a workers’ compensation claim during the period of July 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017 — are required to fulfill BWC-mandated safety training by June 30, 2019.
OMA makes complying easy. Every month, the OMA offers a safety webinar that counts for one-hour of BWC-mandated safety training.
Dinsmore, an OMA Connections Partner, reports an uptick in workers’ compensation claimant allegations that an employer has caused an accident due to violation of a specific safety requirement (VSSR). VSSRs are additional awards paid to injured workers, and they are billed directly to employers.
Dinsmore has published a summary on VSSRs. The summary includes information on how employers can prepare to defend against VSSR claims. 4/17/2019
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is assisting the business community’s efforts to utilize drones to save time, resources and manpower, especially in the area of safety.
Josh Grappy, BWC’s Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) program coordinator, works with companies that want to explore starting a drone program. He says, “Drones are often advertised as being able to perform the dull, dirty and dangerous jobs,” adding that there are many “innovative ways businesses can use drones to keep their workers safe.”
Companies interested in starting a drone program can contact Grappy at 614-332-7343. 4/17/2019