News and Analysis
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a Federal Register notice on September 12, 2013 proposing a complete overhaul of its regulation of respirable crystalline silica (RCS). The proposal would reduce the permissible exposure level (PEL) in the workplace by about half, to 50 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) and would establish an action level of 25µg/m3.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) invites manufacturers to participate in a survey to gather employer impacts to incorporate into the public comments it will file.
The survey contains 33 questions, but it is important for affected companies to provide as much detail as possible about how the proposal would affect their businesses, including potential measures that would be necessary to comply with the proposed PEL and other requirements. Your information will remain confidential. The survey deadline is January 7, 2014.
Click here to begin the survey. (Please note: You can exit the survey at any time and resume at the page you made your last entry as long as you have hit the “Next” button to save the information on that page.)
Read more from NAM regarding the rule and its preparation to make public comments.
Beryl Brown Piccolantonio, formerly a district hearing officer at the Ohio Industrial Commission, is the new Chief Ombuds Officer for the Ohio workers’ compensation system.
Beryl’s experience includes: Supervisor, Legal Research Legal Assistant to General Counsel at Ohio Industrial Commission; Assistant Director, Office of Human Resources at State of Ohio; Legal Assistant to Chairman Patrick Gannon at Ohio Industrial Commission; and, Project Assistant at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP.
She is a graduate of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and Kent State University.
The Ombuds office is a “problem-solving service, independent of BWC and the Industrial Commission of Ohio (IC), which answers complaints and general inquiries about Ohio’s workers’ compensation system.” Beryl can be reached at — Phone: 1-800-335-0996; Fax: 877-321-9481; or, E-mail.
The Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) reminds businesses that all Commercial Driver License (CDL) holders must self-certify their type of commercial driving to the BMV, and submit a medical examiner’s certificate by January 30, 2014. Failure to take these steps will put holders at risk of losing their CDL privileges. More information can be found on the BMV website.
The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation board of directors has Ok’d a staff-proposed timeline for the conversion from its current after-the-fact premium payment practice to a prospective premium payment mode. This aligns BWC with insurance industry premium payment practices.
In August 2015, employers will make their first prospective premium payments. That August, employers will be invoiced for the policy year of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. Multiple installment payment options will be available. And, the BWC will issue a credit for the entire first half of 2015 as well as fund the first two months of the 2015/16 premium year – a total of eight months of premium relief – to ease the transition.
The change in premium payment timing has additional consequences that affect employers. For example, there will be two group experience rating enrollment deadlines in 2014, one on February 28, 2014 for the 2014/15 policy year, and another on November 30, 2014 for the 2015/16 policy year.
Most BWC product and service deadlines will change. January 31, 2015 will become the enrollment deadline for group retrospective rating, one claim program, EM capped program, individual retrospective rating and both small and large deductible programs. May 31, 2015 will become the enrollment deadline for Destination Excellence programs.
Here is a fact sheet from the BWC.
Scott Weisend has joined the OMA staff to lead the organization’s Workers’ Compensation Services. Most recently, Scott was Client Services Manager at CompManagement.
OMA President, Eric Burkland, said, “Workers’ compensation is a significant issue for manufacturers. We are pleased to have Scott join the OMA workers’ compensation team, which includes Denny Davis, Barb Bender, and Georgia Booth, to lead in service innovation and improvement. Scott brings substantial experience in Ohio workers’ compensation and customer service.”
Members can reach Scott, Managing Director, OMA Workers’ Compensation Services, at (614) 629-6832 or by email.
Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer visited OMA member, Steere Enterprises, Tallmadge, this week to promote the availability of safety grants. Last week the Administrator presented a $40,000 check to American Fan Company, Fairfield, to invest in safety equipment.
Steere Enterprises is a leading international plastics supplier that produces a variety of products, including blow molding and its patented Dual Process overmolding technology. A 2007 Safety Intervention Grant allowed the company to purchase three deflash presses to automate the deflashing of a variety of parts.
American Fan Company manufactures industrial fans and roof ventilators. The company will invest in a press brake work support that will lift and hold sheet metal in position, eliminating the need for manual support; a vacuum lift that will transfer and position sheets; and a magnetic coupling attachment that will transfer scrap, in addition to picking up multiple sheets at one time.
Ohio employers are eligible for safety intervention grants, which include a 3-to-1 matching amount up to a maximum of $40,000. Quarterly data reports and follow-up case studies help BWC determine the effectiveness of employers’ safety interventions and establish best practices.. BWC’s Safety Intervention Grant Program received $15 million in funding this year as part of the BWC’s Billion Back plan.
This week the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation board of directors audit committee took up rules necessary to implement a law change that makes self-insurance more accessible to financially strong Ohio employers.
An OMA-led amendment included in the state budget will allow employers with fewer than 500 employees, a long-standing BWC standard, to receive a waiver to apply for self-insurance.
The new rule states that an employer with fewer than 500 employees can apply for self-insurance if it meets the normal criteria to qualify for self-insurance and present five years of audited financial statements. In addition, applicants must be able to obtain excess insurance at a level deemed appropriate by the BWC or have a substantial number of employees located outside the state.
The rule was approved by the committee and is expected to pass a full board vote today. The rule change will next go through the state’s Common Sense Initiative analysis and Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review in early 2014.
The OMA Workers’ Compensation Services team stands ready to help interested manufacturers consider the cost-benefit of self-insurance. Contact OMA’s Dan Noreen.
On November 21 at 1:00 p.m. the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is holding a webinar on OSHA’s proposed Silica Rule. David Sarvadi, Partner, Keller & Heckman, LLP will be the presenter. David and his team are drafting public comments on behalf of the NAM; the comment period has been extended to January 27, 2014 based on community action. More.
Last week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed a new rule which would require more frequent reporting of injury and illness data, and would make that data publicly available through the web on a company-by-company basis.
The proposal does not add any new requirement to keep records; it modifies an employer’s obligation to transmit these records to OSHA.
OSHA is proposing to amend its current recordkeeping regulations to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information employers are required to keep under existing standards . The first proposed new requirement is for establishments with more than 250 employees (and who are already required to keep records) to electronically submit the records on a quarterly basis to OSHA.
OSHA is also proposing that establishments with 20 or more employees, in certain industries with high injury and illness rates, be required to submit electronically their summary of work-related injuries and illnesses to OSHA once a year.
OSHA plans to eventually post the data online.
There will be a public meeting in Washington about the rule on January 9, 2014 and public comments are due on February 6, 2014. We’ll keep you posted.
OSHA has created a toolkit to identify safer chemicals that can be used in place of more hazardous ones. This toolkit walks employers step-by-step through information, methods, tools and guidance to either eliminate hazardous chemicals or make informed substitution decisions by finding a safer chemical, material, product or process.
OSHA also created another new web resource: the Annotated Permissible Exposure Limits, or annotated PEL tables, which will enable employers to voluntarily adopt newer, more protective workplace exposure limits. OSHA’s PELs set mandatory limits on the amount or concentration of a substance in the air to protect workers against the health effects of certain hazardous chemicals.