News and Analysis
OMA Connections Partner Working Partners(R) is scheduled to present four sessions at next week’s Ohio Safety Congress that will help you strengthen your drug-free workplace policy and practices:
- Audit your drug-free workplace policy and program
- Ask the experts: Running a best-practice drug-free program
- New drug trends threatening Ohio’s workforce and workplace
- Medical marijuana and your workplace: How are you responding?
And while you’re there, say hi to the OMA team at booth #304! We have snacks courtesy of OMA member Pepperidge Farm! 2/28/2019
Governor Mike DeWine last week submitted to the General Assembly his recommendations for funding the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) and the Ohio Industrial Commission (OIC) for the upcoming 2020-2021 budget biennium.
The appropriated budgets for BWC and OIC cover the agencies’ administrative operations and are supported by workers’ compensation premiums paid by Ohio employers. Benefits, including lost wages and medical benefits for injured workers, are paid separately from the State Insurance Fund.
The BWC’s recommended operating budget reflects the previously announced proposal to reduce the average premium rate BWC charges private employers by 20%, effective July 1, 2019.
Governor DeWine is also recommending these priority investments:
- A multi-million dollar increase to BWC’s Substance Use Recovery and Workplace Safety Program, which helps employers hire and retain workers recovering from substance use disorders.
- $2 million to create a new Safety and Health Center of Excellence to test and deploy advances in science and technology to prevent occupational accidents, injuries, and illnesses.
- $40 million over the biennium for safety grants.
BWC created the Safety Innovation Award program to recognize innovations that result in risk reduction, cost savings, and potential application to other workplaces, industries or operations. Innovations can range from a newly-created piece of equipment, tool, process or method to an existing one that an employer has improved or uses in a new or creative way.
This year’s finalists are:
- Francis Manufacturing Company (Russia) – Hapman Sand Conveyance System
- J&R Farms (Mount Vernon) – Grain Engulfment Prevention/Retrieval System
- TERYDON Inc. (Navarre) – Touch-Screen Tablet Wireless Control (a.k.a. “Lunch Box”)
- Yoder Drilling & Geothermal Inc. (Sugarcreek) – Geothermal Grouter Pipe/Loop Reel
Read summaries of the award-winning projects here. The finalists will be on hand at the Safety Innovation Awards booth at the Ohio Safety Congress & Expo 2019 (OSC19) March 6-8 in Columbus. Stop by to learn more about the innovations when you’re at OSC19.
(And visit the OMA team at booth #304!) 2/20/2019
At its meeting today, the board of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is voting a proposed 20% reduction in the average premium rate charged to private employers. It would be the largest rate cut in nearly 60 years.
Fewer workplace injuries and falling estimates of future medical costs are credited with the proposed rate reduction.
If approved, the rate reduction would be effective July 1 and is projected to save private employers $244 million over premiums for fiscal year 2019. 2/21/2019
BWC’s next employer webinar will be Thursday, Feb. 28 at 11:30 a.m.
The webinar will cover policy reminders and important dates, the Better You, Better Ohio! health and wellness program, the Policy Activity Rebate program, buying and/or selling a business, an Ohio Industrial Commission overview and the monthly safety tip.
Register to attend here. 2/16/2019
First, employers are reminded of their obligation to post a copy of OSHA Form 300A, which summarizes job-related injuries and illnesses logged during 2018. Each year, from February 1 through April 30, the summary must be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted.
Second, covered establishments are required to electronically submit to OSHA information from OSHA Form 300A. The deadline for submission is March 2, 2019. More info here. 2/11/2019
Register now for the FREE Ohio Safety Congress, the largest and longest-running regional occupational safety, health and workers’ compensation conference in the U.S. 2/14/2019
Stephanie McCLoud, Gov. DeWine’s recent appointment to lead the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, is scheduled to be a guest presenter at the OMA’s upcoming Safety & Workers’ Compensation committee meeting.
The meeting will be on Wednesday, February 27 and starts at 10:00 a.m. The meeting includes lunch, and there is a call-in option.
You can find and register for the meeting here. 1/31/2019
From OMA Connections Partner Calfee: “In a 4-3 decision, the Ohio Supreme Court recently decided a case with potentially far-reaching implications for Ohio Workers’ Compensation Violation of a Specific Safety Requirement (VSSR) Law. State ex rel. Jackson Tube Serv., Inc. v. Indus. Comm., … held that the “impossibility defense” to violation of an OSHA standard could be imported into Ohio Workers’ Compensation Law as an affirmative defense to an alleged VSSR where an employer shows: (1) it would have been impossible to comply with the specific safety requirement or that compliance would have precluded performance of the work; and (2) that no alternate means of employee protection existed or were available. …”
Read more about this case from Calfee. 1/28/2019
This week the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) proposed a 20% reduction in the average premium rate it charges private employers, which would be the largest rate cut in nearly 60 years if approved by the agency’s board of directors.
Fewer workplace injuries and falling estimates of future medical costs are driving the recommendation.
The board will vote the measure at its February 22 meeting.
If approved, the rate reduction would be effective July 1 and is projected to save private employers $244 million over premiums for fiscal year 2019.
Premiums paid to BWC not only cover health care and wages for injured workers, they support BWC’s Safety & Hygiene Division, which offers grants, training, consultations and other services to help employers improve workplace safety.
The proposed 20% rate cut represents an average statewide change. The actual premium paid by individual private employers depends on a number of factors, including the expected future claims costs in their industry, their company’s recent claims history and their participation in various BWC rebate programs. 1/24/2019