News and Analysis
Gov. Mike DeWine has announced that Ohio will end its COVID-19 emergency declaration today, June 18, as cases and hospitalizations continue to decline.
The OMA’s general counsel, Bricker & Eckler, has prepared this memo to summarize what the end of the emergency means for manufacturers.
In short, while many of the state orders that impacted manufacturers — such as masking requirements — were rescinded earlier this month, today’s move could affect manufacturers in some narrow aspects such as government procurement. (Read the memo for details.)
Ohio employers pay, on average, the 12th lowest workers’ compensation premium rates in the U.S. That’s according to an updated study by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, which regularly compares the workers’ comp premium rates of all 50 states and D.C. Ohio improved four spots from 2018.
Over the years, the OMA has worked hard to champion policies and practices that lower workers’ comp costs. Last year, Ohio’s index rate of $1.11 per $100 of payroll was 77% of the U.S. median, according to the study. If your company is not using OMA Workers’ Compensation Services, learn how the OMA can help with your workers’ comp responsibilities. 6/15/2021
OSHA has established a Regional Emphasis Program (REP) to raise hearing protection awareness among Midwest manufacturers. According to a news release, the REP’s initial phase will include educating employers about hearing conservation, while encouraging the use of OSHA’s free consultation services to implement noise safety strategies.
Following a three-month outreach period, OSHA personnel will be authorized to inspect manufacturing facilities in Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin with hearing loss rates higher than the U.S. average.
The Ohio Industrial Commission will return to in-person hearings effective July 6. According to the commission’s website, parties and their representatives will still have the option to appear and participate by Webex. At this time, it is unclear whether in-person attendance at hearings will become mandatory. 6/16/2021
Here are some upcoming key BWC dates and opportunities for OMA members:
- June 21: Private employer first installment due.
- June 22: Virtual training — effective safety teams, half-day workshop.
- June 24: Employer update webinar.
- June 28: MCO open-enrollment changes become effective.
- June 30: Deadline for Industry-Specific Safety Program loss prevention activities and SH-29 forms.
- June 30: Deadline for 2020 two-hour training.
- July 1: Start of 2021 policy year.
- July 1: Private employer payroll true-up period begins.
- July 1: Private employer early-payment discount.
Employers should note that their true-up must be completed by Aug. 15. 6/17/2021
OMA Connections Partner Working Partners® has published this summary of a large-scale analysis of drug test results that identify trends in the U.S. workforce. The study found that despite a decrease in positivity rates for many substances, the double-digit increase in marijuana positivity rates kept overall rates at historically high levels.
In states that allow recreational use, marijuana positivity surged 118.2% from 2012 to 2020 (2.2% in 2012 versus 4.8% in 2020). In states with only medical marijuana statutes, such as Ohio, marijuana positivity increased 68.4% (1.9% versus 3.2%). 6/15/2021
If you haven’t already, it’s time to register for the OMA Safety & Workers’ Compensation Committee meeting, set for Tuesday, June 22 from 10 a.m. to noon. Special guest will be Ohio Industrial Commission Chairman Jim Hughes. Members will also hear updates on relevant Statehouse activities; how BWC plans to treat employers’ experience ratings with respect to COVID-19 claims; and what OSHA’s new COVID-19 guidance means for manufacturers. 6/16/2021
OSHA has released new guidance in response to the CDC’s recently revised recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated workers. OSHA says the guidance is to help employers protect workers who are still not vaccinated.
In case you missed it, here’s the June 10 edition of the OMA’s COVID-19 Update, which includes a summary of OSHA’s new guidance. 6/10/2021
June is National Safety Month. (For manufacturers, every month is safety month, of course.) Now is a good time for members to check out the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation’s resources that help employers create a safe and healthy workplace.
National Safety Month is also a great time to review the OMA’s on-demand safety webinars (recorded for members’ convenience). The OMA’s online video library offers more than two dozen webinars conducted by the experts at OMA Connections Partner Safex. 6/9/2021
Beginning July 1 — in less than three weeks — the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) will require Ohio employers to reconcile their actual payroll for the prior policy year, as well as any differences in premium paid.
If your business has not already done so, the BWC is encouraging employers to review their payroll estimates for the current policy year to avoid surprises in the amount they might owe on premiums. Here are the details. 6/9/2021