News and Analysis
Several free safety webinars are being offered by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation this month. Details and registration links can be found here. 6/2/2020
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is deferring employers’ premium installments for the months of June, July and August. Businesses will have the option to defer the monthly premium payments with no financial penalties. This is the second payment deferral BWC has authorized since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The deferral is designed to help employers focus financial resources on re-opening their businesses under the Responsible RestartOhio Plan. 5/28/2020
The OMA and allied business associations this week sent a letter to the members of the Senate General Government and Agency Review Committee, outlining their opposition to House Bill 308 — legislation that would allow first responders to receive Ohio workers’ compensation benefits if diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), even without an accompanying physical injury. The coalition urged lawmakers to consider alternatives to provide PTSD benefits to first responders. 5/28/2020
Tech-focused Techzimo.com has published this article examining U.S. automakers’ efforts to prevent workers from contracting COVID-19 or spreading it. Some key takeaways:
- Ford requires employees to complete a daily, online survey assessing their ability to report to work. They’re required to show an email or text message confirmation that they filled out the survey when they arrive for their shift.
- GM is asking that doors be propped open to increase airflow and reduce the number of surfaces workers need to touch. The company recommends that workers use body parts other than their hands to open doors, when possible.
- Fiat Chrysler is giving employees a reusable temperature strip to use before they come to work, and the company has implemented a start-of-shift sanitation process for each factory workstation. The company has suspended meetings of more than eight employees.
Also, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Manufacturing Leadership Council have published this summary of a briefing held this week to share policies designed to keep auto industry employees safe. 5/27/2020
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of encountering a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 among employees is identifying those with whom the infected worker has had contact. OMA Connections Partner Fisher Phillips has published this new insight into the CDC’s contact tracing guidelines for general businesses. 5/27/2020
A special meeting of the Ohio Industrial Commission will be held Wednesday, June 3, at 10 a.m. to address additional workers’ compensation issues that may be heard during Ohio’s state of emergency. Currently, a limited number of issues can be heard by the Commission. The meeting will be live streamed via the Industrial Commission’s YouTube channel. 5/27/2020
This week the DeWine administration released details of a new “Ohioans Protecting Ohioans Urgent Health Advisory” which rescinds and modifies the Stay Safe Ohio order that was issued by the Ohio Department of Health on April 30, 2020.
The health order replaces language requiring Ohioans to stay at home with limited exceptions with language that strongly recommends that citizens, especially those who are high-risk, stay at home as much as possible.
The new health advisory still prohibits public or private gatherings of 10 or more persons. And it lifts overall travel restrictions and the requirement to quarantine if someone travels to or returns to Ohio. Unnecessary travel within or outside of Ohio is not encouraged.
Under the advisory, businesses, and in particular manufacturers, are still required to follow the operational rules, protocols, and guidelines contained in previous Orders. Therefore, manufacturers should not see many changes in either operational requirements or the enforcement of mandates. Here is a summary of the advisory from OMA general counsel Bricker & Eckler. 5/21/2020
This week the Senate unanimously passed House Bill 81. Supported by the OMA, the bill is a workers’ compensation catch-all that makes a variety of positive changes to the system for manufacturers. The House will need to concur with the Senate amendments before the bill goes to the governor to be signed. 5/21/2020
This week, the Senate’s General Government and Agency Review Committee continued hearings on House Bill 308 — legislation that would allow first responders to receive Ohio workers’ compensation benefits if diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), even without an accompanying physical injury.
Proponents lined up to throw in their support for the precedent changing legislation. The bill would allow mental claims without an accompanying physical harm for the first time in Ohio’s workers’ compensation system history. The business community including the OMA remains opposed to the bill. More hearings are expected. 5/21/2020
As states begin reopening their economies, OSHA has issued two revised enforcement policies to “ensure employers are taking action to protect their employees.”
First, OSHA is increasing in-person inspections at all types of workplaces. Second, OSHA is revising its previous enforcement policy for recording cases of coronavirus. Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, coronavirus is a recordable illness, and employers are responsible for recording cases of the coronavirus, if the case:
- Is confirmed as a coronavirus illness;
- Is work-related as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5; and
- Involves one or more of the general recording criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7, such as medical treatment beyond first aid or days away from work.