News and Analysis
In less than two weeks, Ohio’s 2020 Safety Congress and Expo will be held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. This March 11-13 event is the largest work-safety event in the U.S. and is free to attend. It offers more than 200 educational sessions, continuing education opportunities, credit toward BWC discount programs, and dynamic keynote speakers, including former Cincinnati Bengals star and NFL Hall of Famer Anthony Muñoz.
If you go, stop by the OMA’s booth (#1024) to discuss our unique, manufacturer-specific approach to workers’ comp management. We will have a small gift courtesy of OMA-member Krema Nut to say thanks for saying hello. 2/26/2020
Ohio’s 2018 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses report is now available. The report shows the number of cases involving days away from work in the private sector decreased 5% compared to the previous year. Sprains, strains, tears comprised more than 35% of reported injuries, followed by fractures (11.7%), cuts and lacerations (9%), and bruises and contusions (8.8%).
The rate of workplace injuries and illnesses for Ohio continues to be lower than the national average. Manufacturing reported a slight increase in the rate of injuries and illnesses, up from 3.1 to 3.2 cases per 100 full-time workers — but that’s still less than the U.S. rate for manufacturing (3.4).
Overall in Ohio, agriculture — at 8.2 — had the highest total recordable case rate per 100 full-time workers. 2/18/2020
The first OMA Safety and Workers’ Compensation Committee meeting of 2020 will be Wednesday, Feb. 26, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Columbus. The BWC Fraud Unit will be on hand to engage with members on what to do if you suspect workers’ comp fraud in your facility. The committee will also review critical updates on pending legislation, including a proposal to allow mental-only conditions — such as PTSD — for workers’ comp coverage. Register here for in-person or call-in participation. 2/18/2020
Did you know OSHA provides all of its popular publications on its website, ready for free download? Many of the agency’s publications are available in languages other than English. Click here to see the most downloaded OSHA publications. 2/18/2020
The BWC’s next employer webinar will be Thursday, Feb. 27, at 11:30 a.m. This free, 25-minute webinar will cover the role of the Ohio Industrial Commission, the $15,000 Medical-Only Program, One-Time Forgiveness, eNews, important dates, and the BWC’s monthly safety tip. Register to attend online — or sign up to attend in person at your nearest BWC service office. 2/17/2020
This week, on a 74-22 vote, the Ohio House passed House Bill 308, legislation that would provide first responders with workers’ compensation benefits to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) even when there’s no physical injury. Under current Ohio law, only mental conditions stemming from on-the-job physical injuries/illnesses are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Due to the risk of substantial premium increases for employers, the OMA has long opposed any legislation that would permit PTSD compensation or other mental claims when there is no associated physical injury or illness. As the OMA noted in its “key vote alert” to House members, HB 308, if enacted, “will inevitably result in increased workers’ compensation costs for both public and private employers. The consequences of those cost increases will be felt across the Ohio economy and will negatively impact Ohio’s business climate.”
The bill now moves to the Senate, where Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) has already been quoted saying he supports the legislation. 2/13/2020
In state legislatures across the U.S., there’s growing support to provide workers’ compensation benefits to first responders who are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), even if there’s no physical injury. But according to an insurance publication, in states where benefits have been expanded, things aren’t going as intended as the changes are leaving some first responders without care — and municipalities “struggling to cover the costs.”
In its story, Business Insurance quotes several experts, including one who said: “The cost is extraordinary. The reality is that a large number of these claims … are all heavily litigated or arbitrated, and a really high percentage of these claims are not readily paid.” 2/11/2020
February marks the peak of flu season. This year, flu concerns have been compounded with worries about the coronavirus. OMA Connections Partner Bricker & Eckler has published this guidance for employers seeking to maintain a healthy workforce during flu season and throughout the year. 2/12/2020
On Thursday, Feb. 20, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) will host a free, 15-minute webinar on its Policy Activity Rebate (PAR) program. This will be an opportunity to ask questions about PAR, which offers employers a range of activities to help them earn a 50% premium rebate (up to $2,000). Private employers have until Feb. 28 to apply for PAR, while employers already in the program have until May 31 to complete their premium-reducing activities. 2/11/2020
This week, the BWC was given approval by its board to spend $70 million in fiscal years 2020 and 2021 on grants for Ohio employers to improve workplace safety. Funded by employer premiums, the Safety Grants program has already reached its 2020 appropriation of $20 million. 2/12/2020