News and Analysis
Nearly 3,600 Ohio employees have filed workers’ compensation claims saying that they contracted COVID-19 while on the job, according to the latest summary provided by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). The bulk of these claims (2,385) have been filed by health care employees and first responders.
As of March 31, more than 1,650 of these claims had been rejected, denied or dismissed, according to the BWC. The agency notes that communicable diseases like COVID-19 are generally not workers’ compensation claims because people are exposed in a variety of ways, and few jobs have a hazard or risk of getting the diseases in a greater degree or a different manner than the general public. 4/8/2021
While the consolidated order likely presents no new impacts to daily operations for Ohio manufacturers, OMA members are encouraged to review this brief memo, which, among other things, summarizes the order’s requirements on masking, social distancing, sanitizing, and reporting COVID-19 cases.
The memo notes that the administration plans to re-issue industry-specific guidance, including for manufacturers. 4/8/2021
- Training your authorized and affected employees;
- Developing equipment-specific energy isolation procedures; and
- Conducting a periodic lockout/tagout audit.
The subject matter expert is Brian Basbagill a Certified Safety Professional with OMA Connections Partner Safex. The webinar has 60 minutes of content followed by 15 minutes of Q&A. 4/1/2021
The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) offers a robust schedule of no-charge safety training events and webinars. Click the image to scan the options. For your convenience, this image/link is always in the sidebar of OMA’s Leadership Briefing. 4/1/2021
The Ohio BWC has updated its COVID-19 FAQs, which includes several questions from employers. New questions include topics such as sick/family paid leave under the American Rescue Plan (Question 25) and why self-insured employers did not receive BWC dividends (Question 29). 3/25/2021
If you haven’t already, it’s time to register for the OMA’s April 1 webinar “Lockout/Tagout: Meeting the OSHA Regulations.” This one-hour event will provide guidance on establishing written procedures and training employees to prevent injury as a result of uncontrolled energy or unexpected startup of equipment. 3/24/2021
This week, the OMA’s Safety and Workers’ Comp Committee held its first meeting of 2021 via Zoom.
Chaired by Matt Shurte, general counsel for Lancaster Colony Corp., the meeting featured a visit from John Logue, interim administrator of the Ohio BWC. Logue said the BWC had approved more than 800 COVID-19-related claims worth approximately $2.25 million, but that claims had recently fallen to an average of five to seven per day compared to 70 to 80 per day earlier this winter. He also said the BWC could allow claims of employees who are required to get COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment if those employees experience adverse reactions.
Other presenters included public health expert Martin Tremmel, who reviewed COVID-19-related considerations for employers as vaccines become more widely available. The next committee meeting is set for June 22. 3/17/2021
Last Friday, March 12, OSHA announced it was launching a “national emphasis program” to focus its inspection efforts on companies that are failing to properly implement COVID-19 precautions, as well as businesses that retaliate against employees for filing complaints.
OMA Connections Partner Fisher Phillips has published new insight to provide five steps for employers to prepare for more COVID-19-related OSHA inspections this spring and summer. 3/17/2021
Earlier this week, Gov. Mike DeWine announced that starting today (Friday, March 19), COVID-19 vaccination eligibility has been expanded to all Ohioans 40 and older and to those with certain health conditions. On Monday, March 29, eligibility will be open to all Ohioans 16 and older. (Here’s the statewide vaccination signup website.)
To help employers prepare for the vaccination of their employees, OMA Connections Partner Fisher Phillips has published this FAQs page, as well as sample vaccine-related templates and forms, such as model vaccine policies. 3/19/2021
A year into the pandemic, the workers’ compensation system has felt the impact COVID-19. On March 31, OMA Connections Partner Dinsmore will host a free webinar to review recent workers’ compensation changes, the legal issues surrounding “occupational diseases,” and the BWC’s response during COVID-19. 3/17/2021