News and Analysis
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) urges employers to cash the checks BWC mailed in December to mitigate the economic hardship brought by COVID-19. As of Tuesday of this week, 23,351 employers had not yet cashed $513.7 million in BWC checks, which have a 90-day life. 1/14/2021
This week, Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 308, which creates a fund for the payment of compensation and benefits for first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — but do not have an accompanying physical injury received in the course of, and arising out of, employment.
The OMA played a key role to amend this legislation, helping to avoid a costly expansion of Ohio’s employer-funded workers’ compensation system.
OMA general counsel Bricker & Eckler has published this insight into HB 308 as passed and signed, calling the bill’s solution “a big win for Ohio employers” since private employers will not be responsible for paying into the PTSD fund. 1/12/2021
OSHA’s civil penalty amounts for workplace safety and health violations are increasing based on cost-of-living adjustments for 2021. The maximum penalty amount will now be $13,653 per violation, and $13,653 per day beyond the abatement deadline. In 2015, Congress directed federal agencies to adjust their civil monetary penalties for inflation every year. 1/14/2021
Manufacturers are raising questions regarding Ohio’s COVID-19 vaccination distribution plans. Here’s what we know to date:
- Ohio is currently in Phase 1A of the state’s vaccine distribution. This phase is focused on inoculating health care workers and nursing home residents.
- Phase 1B — which will include Ohioans ages 65 and older, those with severe medical issues, and staff at K-12 schools — is expected to begin Jan. 19. With more than 2 million people in this group, Phase 1B is expected to take several months to complete.
- Based on Ohio’s draft plan, Phase 2 will include employees for essential businesses; it is believed this group will contain most manufacturing employees. The OMA has advocated that the Phase 2 definition of “essential businesses” be the same definition used by state officials last spring to keep the vast majority of manufacturers and their suppliers operating. At this time, it’s unclear when Phase 2 will begin due to the limited vaccine supplies.
OMA members should keep in close contact with their local health district officials since they will play a key role in the distribution. Be sure to read the OMA’s regularly published COVID-19 updates (emailed to members), and visit the Ohio Department of Health’s vaccination program page, which includes an FAQ section. If you have specific questions, contact the OMA’s Rob Brundrett. 1/7/2021
In response to the pandemic, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) has added many virtual safety and employer resources, including safety webinars. A number of previously full-day training courses have been refashioned into shorter virtual events.
Members are encouraged to explore the BWC’s calendar of upcoming events.
BWC also continues to offer its full line of safety services, including virtual consultations, safety talks, and written safety program templates.
BWC events are offered at no cost to Ohio state-fund employers. Questions regarding BWC’s safety services can be emailed to the staff. 1/5/2021
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fatal work injuries in 2019 (the latest data available) were the highest they’ve been since 2007. Fatalities among workers age 55 and over increased 8% from 1,863 in 2018 to 2,005 in 2019 — the largest number ever recorded for this age group.
Register now for the OMA’s Jan. 14 safety webinar, which will spotlight OSHA Emphasis Programs, inspections and employee complaints. Learn more and register here. 1/5/2021
OSHA is reminding employers that the agency has begun collecting calendar year 2020 Form 300A data to record reportable injuries and illnesses. Employers must submit the form electronically by March 2, 2021.
Electronic submissions are required by establishments with 250 or more employees currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records, and establishments with 20-249 employees classified in specific industries (including manufacturing) with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses.
To brush up on OSHA recordkeeping requirements, watch this OMA on-demand webinar. (Since the recording of this webinar, there have been no changes to the content except clarification that COVID-19 cases resulting from work exposure belong in the log.) 1/5/2021