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Slight Increase in Fatal Chemical Inhalations at Workplace

November 1, 2019

According to new information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 41 U.S. workers in 2017 died on the job after a single episode of inhaling chemicals and chemical products. That is seven more fatal injuries than in 2016. The number of fatalities from inhaling chemicals has ranged between 33 and 55 each year from 2011 to 2017. Inhaling carbon monoxide led to the most fatalities during this time period, followed by inhaling hydrogen sulfide. 10/28/2019

House Continues Hearings on PTSD Bill

October 25, 2019

This week, the House Insurance Committee held another hearing on House Bill 308, which would provide PTSD coverage for emergency first responders through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). Supporters of the bill included firefighter groups, psychiatrist associations, academics, and doctors. Interestingly, no major police associations provided proponent testimony.

The business community remains opposed to a mental/mental expansion of workers compensation, but has long offered solutions and coverage opportunities so that first responders could receive treatment outside of the workers’ compensation system. 10/23/2019

OSHA Publishes Information on Hearing Protection, Inspections

October 18, 2019

October is National Protect Your Hearing Month, and OSHA has produced updated information to help keep workers safe from occupational noise exposure. The agency has also released a new video explaining the OSHA inspection process as it relates to its effort to protect workers from workplace hazards. 10/17/2019

PTSD Bill Returns to Legislature

October 11, 2019

This week, State Rep. Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) provided sponsor testimony on House Bill 308. This is the latest attempt by Rep. Patton to secure post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment benefits within Ohio’s workers’ compensation system.

The bill would buck the state’s long-standing tradition of requiring a physical injury before allowing mental health claims under the workers’ compensation system. The bill includes the expansion of workers’ comp benefits for first responders who suffer mental or emotional impairment caused by PTSD, even when there is no physical injury.

The OMA and its business allies have opposed this proposed expansion for years — most recently during this year’s budget process. Instead, the OMA has offered alternatives to ensure that first responders receive proper mental care outside of the workers’ compensation system. 10/10/2019

Data: Manufacturing Fatalities Down 28% Since 2003

October 11, 2019

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and its most recent data, the number of fatal work injuries in the private manufacturing industry declined 28% from 2003 to 2017, the latest year available. In 2017, the leading causes of fatalities at manufacturing sites were transportation-related incidents, along with contact with objects and equipment.

As a reminder, OMA members can regularly participate in safety-related webinars presented by the OMA’s Connections Partners. 10/7/2019

Commissioner Karen Gillmor Visits OMA

October 4, 2019

The OMA Safety and Workers’ Compensation Committee met this week in Columbus. Guest speakers were Commissioner Karen Gillmor — a member of the Industrial Commission of Ohio — as well as Dave Sievert, interim director of the Ohio BWC’s self-insured department.

In addition to receiving updates on public policy and state legislative activity, members were briefed by OMA Connections Partner Safex on safety-related developments. OMA Workers’ Compensation Services Managing Director Brian Jackson discussed the latest developments affecting the Ohio workers’ compensation system.

Chaired by Larry Holmes of Fort Recovery Industries Inc., the Safety and Workers’ Compensation Committee meets three times a year. If you’d like to participate in future meetings — in person or by phone — contact OMA Public Policy Services Director Rob Brundrett. 10/2/2019

BWC Taking Comments on Changes to Vocational Rehab Regulations

October 4, 2019

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is proposing changes to Chapter 4123-18 of the Ohio Administrative Code. The provision covers vocational rehabilitation services provided to injured workers. If you want to provide feedback on the proposed changes, you’ll need to hurry; comments will be accepted only through this Monday, Oct 7. 10/1/2019

BWC Safety Grants of Up to $40K Available

October 4, 2019

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has published a reminder about the agency’s Safety Grants Program. It provides eligible employers up to $40,000 in three-to-one matching grants for the purchase of equipment that eliminates or reduces the chance for a workplace injury or illness. Find out more here. 10/2/2019

Check’s in the Mail: BWC Rebates Start Going Out

September 27, 2019

In late June, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) board of directors approved a $1.5 billion rebate to Ohio employers covered by the BWC system. BWC started sending checks via the U.S. Postal Service yesterday, Sept. 26 — and the rebates will continue to go out through Thursday, Oct. 24. Be on the lookout for your check! In the meantime, here’s an FAQ list regarding this year’s rebate. 9/25/2019

OSHA Approves New Respirator Fit Testing Protocols

September 27, 2019

OSHA has issued a final rule that provides employers with two new fit testing protocols for ensuring that employees’ respirators fit properly. See the agency’s news release for more details. 9/25/2019