News and Analysis
Electrical safety violations continue to be among the top 10 standards cited by OSHA for manufacturers. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70E requirements provide guidance to protect workers from major electrical hazards, including shock, electrocution, arc flash, and arc blast.
Join the OMA on Thursday, July 9, for a 10 a.m. (ET) webinar conducted by Safex to address the NFPA 70E requirements and other means to reduce electrical hazards and avoid the most common electrical citations. 7/1/2020
This new report from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) shows that from March 11 to June 16, a total of 642 Ohio workers filed claims alleging they contracted COVID-19 on the job. More than 500 of those claimants wor in health care or as first responders, while the 123 remaining cases were filed by employees in other sectors of the economy. According to the report, 109 of the claims have already been rejected.
According to the BWC’s FAQ document (Question 5), whether a COVID-related workers’ compensation claim is compensable depends on how an employee contracts the virus and the nature of his/her occupation. “Generally, communicable diseases like COVID-19 are 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,” the BWC notes. 6/24/2020
How cases of COVID-19 are covered by workers’ compensation depends on state law. OMA Connections Partner Fisher Phillips has updated its 50-state COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation chart that compares how states define an occupational disease, as well as legislative actions related to the pandemic.
Also, the firm is tracking lawsuits across the country that are a direct result of the pandemic and are traditional employee vs. employer cases — both individual plaintiff and class actions. 6/22/2020
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has released a new ad that urges all Americans to help get our economy roaring, protect jobs, and stop the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a face covering in public spaces.
NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said, “Today, we know that the best and most certain way to stop the spread is for everyone to wear a facial covering. It isn’t fun. It isn’t pleasant. But through shared responsibility, we can get this pandemic under control and save small businesses and jobs.” 6/25/2020
Here’s a reminder that the Ohio BWC’s annual employer payroll true-process for the July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 policy year begins July 1. BWC premiums are based on payroll and each employer must reconcile actual payroll after each policy year. The process must be completed by August 15, since there has been no extension due to COVID-19.
General guidelines for reporting payroll — as well as some special payroll reporting changes due to the pandemic — can be found here. If you have questions about these reporting changes, email the Underwriting Classification Unit. 6/18/2020
Tuesday, June 30 is the deadline for new enrollments in Ohio BWC safety-related programs that can save employers money and increase safety.
- Drug-Free Safety Program (DFSP): BWC’s voluntary program to address workplace use and misuse of alcohol and other drugs. Rebates of 4% or 7% are available for meeting program requirements.
- Industry-Specific Safety Program (ISSP): BWC developed ISSP to encourage employers to use the many safety services and programs available through the Division of Safety & Hygiene. A rebate of 3% is awarded for program compliance.
- Transitional work bonus program: Employers with a transitional work plan actively participate in the recovery and return to work of their employees. The cost benefits may include reducing compensation payments and lowering claims reserves. Eligible state-fund employers may receive a 10% bonus.
Keep in mind that Group Retrospective Rating participants cannot receive rebates for these programs — and employers already participating in these programs will be automatically reconsidered. Contact your OMA workers’ compensation account manager or Brian Jackson to learn more. 6/18/2020
HR Dive has published this summary of a recent decision by a federal appeals court that declined to force OSHA to issue temporary emergency workplace standards during COVID-19. The AFL-CIO had requested an emergency standard on infectious diseases, while the U.S. Chamber sided with OSHA, supporting the agency’s approach of coupling existing safety standards with flexible, industry-specific guidance. 6/17/2020
Over the years, the OMA has worked hard to advocate for more competitive workers’ compensation costs. So it is encouraging to see this new infographic by HowMuch.net showing that when compared to other states, Ohio has the nation’s second-lowest workers’ compensation costs.
Based on the most recent data from the National Academy of Social Insurance, the infographic shows that Ohio’s average workers’ compensation costs (as of 2017) were 67 cents per $100 of payroll, compared to the national average of $1.21. Texas was the only state with a lower cost than Ohio’s, according to the comparison. 6/9/2020
On June 11, the OMA Safety and Workers’ Compensation Committee met virtually for its second meeting of 2020. Members were briefed on recent legislative activity and actions by the DeWine administration that could impact Ohio’s workers’ compensation system. In addition, members received updates from experts from Ohio BWC and OMA Connections Partner Safex. The keynote speaker was Howie Eberts, area director for OSHA, who provided Ohio-specific updates from the agency.
This week’s meeting marked the last for longtime committee Chairman Larry Holmes, vice-president of finance and treasurer for Fort Recovery Industries, Inc. Holmes is currently a candidate for the Darke County Board of Commissioners. We thank Larry for his many years of committed leadership and service to the OMA. Matt Shurte, general counsel and secretary at Lancaster Colony Corporation, will follow Holmes as committee chair.
The committee — which is open to all OMA members — is scheduled to meet again Nov. 4. 6/11/2020
Earlier this week, OSHA released new guidance, in the form of frequently asked questions and answers, regarding the use of masks and cloth face coverings in the workplace. The new guidance serves to help employers inform employees on how to properly wear masks and face coverings — and know what is appropriate under different circumstances.
Also, the CDC this week updated its guidance on how to wear cloth face coverings. 6/11/2020