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BWC Board Voting 20% Rate Reduction Today

February 22, 2019

At its meeting today, the board of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is voting a proposed 20% reduction in the average premium rate charged to private employers. It would be the largest rate cut in nearly 60 years.

Fewer workplace injuries and falling estimates of future medical costs are credited with the proposed rate reduction.

If approved, the rate reduction would be effective July 1 and is projected to save private employers $244 million over premiums for fiscal year 2019. 2/21/2019

BWC Employer Webinar is Feb. 28

February 22, 2019

BWC’s next employer webinar will be Thursday, Feb. 28 at 11:30 a.m.

The webinar will cover policy reminders and important dates, the Better You, Better Ohio! health and wellness program, the Policy Activity Rebate program, buying and/or selling a business, an Ohio Industrial Commission overview and the monthly safety tip.

Register to attend here. 2/16/2019

Two OSHA Recordkeeping Reminders

February 15, 2019

First, employers are reminded of their obligation to post a copy of OSHA Form 300A, which summarizes job-related injuries and illnesses logged during 2018. Each year, from February 1 through April 30, the summary must be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted.

Second, covered establishments are required to electronically submit to OSHA information from OSHA Form 300A. The deadline for submission is March 2, 2019. More info here. 2/11/2019

Less Than 3 Weeks to Safety Congress

February 15, 2019

 

Register now for the FREE Ohio Safety Congress, the largest and longest-running regional occupational safety, health and workers’ compensation conference in the U.S. 2/14/2019

 

 

 

New BWC Administrator Headlines Upcoming OMA Meeting

February 1, 2019

Stephanie McCLoud, Gov. DeWine’s recent appointment to lead the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, is scheduled to be a guest presenter at the OMA’s upcoming Safety & Workers’ Compensation committee meeting.

The meeting will be on Wednesday, February 27 and starts at 10:00 a.m. The meeting includes lunch, and there is a call-in option.

You can find and register for the meeting here. 1/31/2019

Supreme Court of Ohio Rules on VSSR Case in Favor of Employer

February 1, 2019

From OMA Connections Partner Calfee: “In a 4-3 decision, the Ohio Supreme Court recently decided a case with potentially far-reaching implications for Ohio Workers’ Compensation Violation of a Specific Safety Requirement (VSSR) Law. State ex rel. Jackson Tube Serv., Inc. v. Indus. Comm., … held that the “impossibility defense” to violation of an OSHA standard could be imported into Ohio Workers’ Compensation Law as an affirmative defense to an alleged VSSR where an employer shows: (1) it would have been impossible to comply with the specific safety requirement or that compliance would have precluded performance of the work; and (2) that no alternate means of employee protection existed or were available. …”

Read more about this case from Calfee. 1/28/2019

BWC Recommends Largest Private Employer Rate Decrease in 60 Years

January 25, 2019

This week the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) proposed a 20% reduction in the average premium rate it charges private employers, which would be the largest rate cut in nearly 60 years if approved by the agency’s board of directors.

Fewer workplace injuries and falling estimates of future medical costs are driving the recommendation.

The board will vote the measure at its February 22 meeting.

If approved, the rate reduction would be effective July 1 and is projected to save private employers $244 million over premiums for fiscal year 2019.

Premiums paid to BWC not only cover health care and wages for injured workers, they support BWC’s Safety & Hygiene Division, which offers grants, training, consultations and other services to help employers improve workplace safety.

The proposed 20% rate cut represents an average statewide change. 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 BWC rebate programs. 1/24/2019

OSHA Relieves Some Reporting for Employers with 250+ Employees

January 25, 2019

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule that eliminates the requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) to OSHA each year.

OSHA indicates it made this ruling to protect worker privacy.

The final rule does not alter an employer’s duty to maintain OSHA Forms 300 and 301 on-site, and OSHA will continue to obtain these forms as needed through inspections and enforcement actions.

Covered establishments are still required to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses). The deadline for submission is March 2, 2019. 1/24/2019

OSHA Penalties Increase in 2019

January 25, 2019

OSHA’s civil penalties amounts for violations of workplace safety and health standards will increase in 2019 to adjust for inflation. The adjusted maximum penalty amounts will take effect upon publication in the Federal Register.

The cost-of-living adjustment multiplier for 2019, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) for the month of October 2018, not seasonally adjusted, is 1.02522. In order to compute the 2019 annual adjustment, the Department of Labor multiplied the most recent penalty amount for each applicable penalty by the multiplier, 1.02522, and rounded to the nearest dollar.

New penalties for willful and repeat violations will be $132,598 per violation; serious, other-than-serious, and posting requirements are $13,260 per violation; and failure to abate violations are $13,260 per day beyond the abatement date. 1/18/2019

OSHA Releases Silica FAQs for General Industry

January 25, 2019

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently published a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to provide guidance to general industry employers on application of OSHA’s final rule regulating occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica in general industry (the “silica rule”).

OSHA developed the FAQs in consultation with the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the American Foundry Society. Since OSHA published its final silica rule in 2016, the NAM has continued to make the case to OSHA about the rule’s heavy burden on manufacturers and the need for reliable guidance to make the rule more workable. These long-awaited FAQs are a good step forward for the industry.

To read the FAQs, click here.

To read NAM’s brief summary of the FAQs, click here. 1/22/2019