The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) recently approved the plan that it introduced in March of this year to set aside $44 million for workplace safety and wellness. The state will be awarding these funds over a two-year period of time to specific small businesses and workers with certain workplace injuries.
This initiative is part of the plan to rebate approximately $1 billion in premiums from 2016 to Ohio businesses. The program will benefit employers with 50 or fewer employees in the construction, manufacturing, police and fire and agriculture industries. These are notoriously high-risk industries, in which physical injury and occupational disease claims are more prevalent due to the nature of work involved.
The BWC plans to distribute this money in January to various causes with the goal of promoting a culture of safety in the state. Some funds will be allocated to health and wellness programs that will focus on smoking cessation, health coaching and chronic disease management.
Another portion of the funds will be set aside for the purchasing of equipment that will minimize exposure to hazardous materials, for training that will help prevent injuries and for safety awareness aimed at educating workers on common causes for workplace accidents.
The bureau has a history of promoting workplace safety for Ohioans and it intends to continue that legacy with an extension of the $15 million a year program for safety intervention grants. The Safety Intervention Grant program is designed to gather and disseminate information about workplace safety and accident prevention.
The BWC Chief Executive Officer identifies lower insurance costs and healthier, more productive workers as key benefits of the program. While this program could facilitate the continuance of Ohio’s record low number of workers’ compensation claims for years to come, there will still be unfortunate cases of workplace injury. When those situations occur, it’s important to have proper representation to help the navigation of workers’ compensation cases.
Source: The Columbus Dispatch, State sets aside $44 million for workplace safety, Mark Williams, April 29, 2017