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THIS MONTH'S MEETING....
August meeting date: August 28th at 8:00 am Topic: Slips, Trips, and Falls Where & When: BWC Office in the WalMart Shopping Plaza
The Division of Safety & Hygiene has created a monthly safety update to keep you informed about the safety and industrial hygiene industry.
A BILLION BACK
BWC proposes $1B employer dividend, safety grant increase, billing revamp
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) plans to invest in Ohio’s workforce by injecting a billion dollars into the state’s economy.
Gov. John Kasich endorsed BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer’s recent proposal to grant a $1 billion dividend for more than 210,000 private employers and public taxing districts. The plan also creates a sweeping safety campaign that includes an expansion in workplace health and wellness grants, and modernization of BWC billing practices.
This proposal builds on BWC’s ongoing efforts to prevent accidents, improve injured worker care and keep rates low and stable for employers. BWC recently recommended an average reduction in private employer rates of 2.1 percent that brings their three-year savings to $224 million. Public employer rates are also at their lowest level in 30 years. At the same time BWC has created a wellness grant program, improved claims management and instituted better drug management policies.
Under the proposed dividend, employers would receive approximately 56 percent of what they were billed their last policy period – July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 for private employers and Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2011 for public taxing districts.
The dividend is made possible by BWC’s $8.3 billion in combined net assets, which exceed the target funding ratio of assets to liabilities established by the BWC Board of Directors in 2008. BWC’s combined funds are in a strong position due to prudent management and a careful, conservative investment strategy.
Those eligible include private employers and public taxing districts that pay premium into the State Insurance Fund and have active, up-to-date policies. Employers with outstanding balances will have their dividend payments reduced by the amount of the outstanding balance.
If approved by the board in May, dividend checks could be mailed as early as June.
Supporting workplace safety
In addition to the dividend, BWC is proposing to triple funding for Ohio’s Safety and Wellness Grant programs from $5 million to $15 million for the policy year starting July 1. It would coincide with a public push by the Governor and the BWC to encourage employers to invest in protecting workers and prevent accidents in the workplace.
The Safety Grants Program provides up to $40,000 in matching funds for employers to purchase equipment that will significantly reduce or eliminate injuries and illnesses. It was expanded in 2012 to include wellness and will be expanded again to allow prior recipients to apply for additional grants.
These grants have a proven track record of success. Grant recipients see an average reduction in claims of 66 percent.
Visit ohiobwc.com for more information on safety grants, and how to apply.
It’s time to modernize the BWC billing system.
BWC is modernizing in many areas and wants to do the same with billing by requesting authority from the legislature to begin charging prospectively, or in advance of the coverage period. Currently, the BWC bills businesses for the prior six months of workers’ compensation coverage. Prospective billing is an industry standard and a common sense move that has many advantages, including a reduction in rates of two percent for private employers and four percent for public employers, more flexible payment options and better employer compliance.
If approved, BWC would recommend that the board authorize credits to employers equal to the amount of their past six months’ premium (their last retrospective payment). It would equate to an estimated $900 million in savings to businesses. The changes would be implemented beginning in mid-2014, at the earliest.
Buehrer plans to present the dividend and safety components of his recommendations to the BWC Board of Directors in late May, and has already begun pursuing legislative approval for the billing changes.
View this fact sheet for all the details, and stay tuned for more exciting updates.