News and Analysis
Recent updates from OSHA include:
- Employers who electronically submit OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping Form 300A must provide an Employer Identification Number as of Jan. 2, 2020.
- OSHA has issued an updated National Emphasis Program to focus agency inspections on amputation hazards in manufacturing industries.
- New federal data show the rate of fatal work injuries remained unchanged in 2018. However, unintentional overdoses at work increased by 12% — the sixth consecutive annual increase — while suicide at work jumped by 11%.
As part of your year-end housekeeping, be sure your facility has OSHA’s “Job Safety and Health: It’s the Law” poster (available for free) prominently displayed. 12/18/2019
Employee use of cannabis is an employment law topic that employers must navigate carefully. On Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, from 10 – 11 a.m. EST, the OMA will host a webinar presented by our Connections Partner Roetzel to explain the current status of Ohio and federal law regarding cannabis, marijuana, hemp, and Cannabidiol (CBD) products. Find out more. 12/18/2019
For Ohio employers who pay into the state fund for their workers’ compensation coverage, enrollment in the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation’s Drug-Free Safety Program (DFSP) can provide significant savings by way of premium rebates. In a recent update, OMA Connections Partner Frantz Ward writes that with the legalization of medical marijuana in Ohio, some employers may be questioning whether they are still required to test for marijuana to maintain their rebates under the DFSP. With respect to the DFSP, nothing has changed.
According to the firm’s experts, “Ohio employers should practice caution in any efforts to accommodate the use of medical marijuana, as they risk losing their DSFP premium rebates if they stop testing for marijuana and may even be missing out on a viable defense to workers’ compensation claims when marijuana is involved.” 12/10/2019
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) reports “a significant increase in the number of inspections” in FY 2019. According to an OSHA release, the federal agency conducted 33,401 inspections — more inspections than the previous three years — to address violations related to trenching, falls, chemical exposure, silica and other hazards. 12/5/2019
Inadequate protection against falls. Failure to properly communicate hazards. Improper scaffolding. These are among the most frequently cited violations issued by OSHA to employers.
To ensure employees are protected from the most commonly cited hazards in the workplace, refer to this recorded OMA/Safex webinar for advice about mitigating potentially dangerous situations. And check out this OMA/Safex webinar on how to best prepare for OSHA inspections.
Also, consider signing up for OMA’s Dec. 3 safety webinar in which we’ll explain how to engage everyone in helping identify and correct workplace hazards. 11/25/2019
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is offering a series of workshops to all self-insuring employers and their representatives. The workshops will cover how the BWC approaches vocational rehabilitation and expectations for self-insuring employers, as well as other updates. Dates and locations are:
- Dec. 2 at 10 a.m.; Columbus – OCOSH, 13430 Yarmouth Drive, Pickerington, OH;
- Dec. 3 at 10 a.m.; Cincinnati Service Office, 135 Merchant St., Springdale, OH;
- Dec. 9 at 10 a.m.; North Canton Service Office, 339 E. Maple St, North Canton, OH; and
- Dec. 11 at 10 a.m.; Cleveland Service Office, 615 Superior Ave W. Cleveland, OH.
For more, see the BWC site. 11/25/2019
This week, Columbus’ NBC affiliate, WCMH-TV, reported on study that found Ohio employers are “vastly” overpaying to finance the state-run workers’ compensation system. According to the report, Ohio’s workers’ comp claims are down significantly, from 1.4 million in 2008 to about 600,000 in 2017. Meanwhile, payments to managed care organizations (MCOs), which handle the medical management of claims and process payments to providers, have remained steady over this period — to the tune of about $170 million a year.
According to the study, on the national level, for each dollar paid for worker medical benefits, 14% goes to MCO administration fees. For each dollar paid in Ohio, MCOs receive 27%.
A year after the study was released, critics say the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWS) has failed to act on the study, which said changes are necessary. The BWC told NBC4 that “it’s all under review.” 11/21/2019
The Ohio House of Representatives this week passed House Bill 81, which has evolved into a much larger workers’ compensation bill than originally intended.
As introduced, the bill would have extended workers’ compensation benefits for medical testing of detention center employees exposed to bodily fluids. The House expanded HB 81 to include a variety of other provisions, including language to codify the state’s voluntary abandonment doctrine and reduce the statute of limitations for violations of specific safety requirements. Other provisions address final settlement agreements and continuing jurisdiction over workers’ comp claims.
The OMA and its business allies were able to ensure the bill did not include language to expand the workers’ comp system to allow for mental-only claims. Also kept out was controversial language regarding the misclassification of employees. The Senate is expected to pick up debate on the proposal in the new year. 11/20/2019
The enrollment due date for OMA’s Workers’ Compensation Group Experience Rating program is this Monday, Nov. 18.
We have posted 2020/21 Workers’ Compensation Services offers to members’ workers’ comp dashboards. This year, you can process your enrollment online. (However, you’ll still need to process your payment separately).
Contact OMA’s Brian Jackson or your account manager if you have any questions or concerns. 11/14/2019
As reported previously, some Ohio lawmakers continue their efforts to expand the state’s workers’ compensation system to allow for mental-only claims — a move that would lead to significant cost increases for employers. OMA Connections Partner Dinsmore has summarized House Bill 308, which would provide PTSD coverage for first responders through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Published in The National Law Review, the story spotlights the advocacy efforts of the OMA and its opposition to HB 308. 11/7/2019