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Bureau of Workers' Compensation sees accomplishments, sets goals

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) is ringing in the New Year with a wellness program, set to debut in early 2018. The BWC had several significant accomplishments in 2017, including: a $1 billion rebate to Ohio employers; a fire department grant program to help with the purchase of safety gear; base rate reductions for Ohio employers; continuation of the enhanced care program which allows medical providers to provide injured workers with more holistic treatment; and improvements to the pharmacy department that led to a 54 percent reduction in opioid-dependent injured workers in 2017.

Another BWC accomplishment in 2017 is the decline in workplace injuries for the fourth year in a row. Ohio's rate of injuries for calendar year 2016 was 2.7 injuries per 100 workers, much lower than the 3.2 national average. Average rates for private and public Ohio employers are also down over 25 percent, and the BWC has rebated them a total of $6.3 billion since 2011.

In 2018, the agency plans to continue its focus on wellness and workplace safety by encouraging workers to lead a healthy lifestyle. A new wellness program will provide workers with services such as health risk assessments, biometric screenings, personalized health plans and coaching and chronic disease management. The BWC cites overwhelming research showing that a healthy lifestyle leads to wellness in the workplace as the impetus for the program.

A public health and safety campaign will also be launched in 2018. The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness and prevention of common workplace accidents including slips, trips and falls, over-exertions and motor vehicle accidents. Through the introduction of the wellness program and the public health and safety campaign, the BWC continues to pursue its goals of reducing workers' compensation claims and building a culture of safety across the state.

Source: Galion Inquirer, Column: Ohio BWC tackling wellness issues, Russell Kent, Jan. 5, 2018

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