News and Analysis
Noise-induced hearing loss is the most common permanent and preventable occupational illness. At 11 a.m. (ET) on Tuesday, July 21, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will host a free webinar to address occupational noise exposure, methods for evaluating and reducing workplace noise exposure, and the basic elements of a comprehensive hearing conservation program. 7/15/2020
The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) recently awarded $3,500 cash prizes to five Ohio employers as part of its annual Safety Innovation Awards. The award winners are typically announced at the Ohio Safety Congress & Expo, which did not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Four of the five winners were manufacturers including OMA members BASF Fort Amanda Specialties LLC and TFO Tech Co., LTD. Read about their innovations here.
The BWC has placed the award program on hiatus for 2021 and will review the program and prepare to return in 2022. 7/6/2020
The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is redesigning its website “to better serve our injured workers and employer customers.” The new site is expected to be implemented on July 28. The website’s address will remain bwc.ohio.gov.
To facilitate a smooth transition to the new site, BWC will temporarily “freeze” updates to the current site’s content, not updating the existing site with news releases, policy updates, or any other new content until July 28, unless the updates are deemed critical. 7/6/2020
All private employers have until August 15 to true up payroll for the 7/1/19 through 6/30/20 policy year with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC).
Although BWC has deferred premium payments until Sept. 1, employers still must true up for this past policy year by the August 15 deadline.
For additional information, view the Payroll true up reports overview page. General guidelines for reporting payroll to BWC may be found on the What payroll is reportable page (note the changes associated with the COVID-19 pandemic).
As you true up, it’s a good time to take advantage of the Go-Green Rebate Program; employers can receive a 1-percent premium rebate, up to $2,000 each policy year. Visit the Go-Green web page to review program requirements. 7/6/2020
The BWC’s July 14 employer webinar (1:30 – 1:55 p.m.) will cover COVID-19 updates, policy year 2020 estimated annual premium, private employer annual true up, important dates, and the monthly safety tip.
Visit the Employer webinars page to attend or view recorded presentations from past webinars. 7/8/2020
With Independence Day weekend nearly here, members have raised questions about guidance for employees who are traveling, especially to areas experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The CDC recently revised its considerations for travelers within the U.S. The page contains:
- COVID Data Tracker, which includes this map showing the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in every U.S. county.
- Tips to protect yourself and others during your trip;
- Tips for overnight travel; and
- Frequently asked questions.
OMA Connections Partner Roetzel has published this recap of House Bill 81, recently signed by Gov. Mike DeWine to implement several important changes to the Ohio workers’ compensation system. The new law, which takes effect Sept. 14, includes a reduction in the statute of limitations for filing a violation of specific safety requirement (VSSR) application — reducing the threshold from two years to one.
Roetzel’s experts advise employers: “If an employee waits more than one year from the date of their injury or occupational disease to file their VSSR claim, such claim should be summarily rejected by the employer based upon a statute of limitations defense.” 6/30/2020
The end of July will bring deadlines for key programs under the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. By July 31, private employers:
- interested in participating in the Safety Council Rebate Program must enroll in a local safety council;
- participating in the Drug-Free Safety Program (DFSP) or Industry-Specific Safety Program (ISSP) must submit a Safety Management Self-Assessment (SH-26); and
- in their first program year of DFSP must complete online the accident-analysis training (new supervisors must complete the training within 60 days of becoming a supervisor).
In the meantime, employers should be receiving their 2019 true-up notice and can start reporting payroll online. 7/2/2020
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