Recently, on April 28, 2017, the Administrator and CEO of Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) and Lt. Governor, Mary Taylor, announced a $44 million investment to improve workplace health, safety, and wellness. This is only one step in their $1 billion rebate plan which will repay a good portion of premiums for private and public employers. The $44 million will be spread across two years and the $1 billion rebate plan will be the third one enacted over the last four years. Taylor stated during the announcement that, “Each day, millions of Ohioans leave their homes to go to work, provide for their families and drive economic growth in Ohio. We owe it to Ohio’s workers and their families to ensure our workplaces are safe and that those workers are able to return home each day after their shift.”
OSHA sets the National standards by law for what each state must require of its workplaces. It is not required by OSHA that a workplace provide ergonomic equipment, however, based on the “General Duty Clause” they must take steps to prevent a work environment from serious hazards. OSHA states specifically on their website that, “The nation’s main workplace safety and health law is the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which requires all private-sector employers to furnish a safe workplace, free of recognized hazards.” They provide a list of recognized hazards which includes ergonomic hazards within a workplace.
Ohio and the BWC have really set the bar with their rebate plan along with the $44 million investment. It’s hard to top such a move. By the looks of it, no other state has topped this move. When visiting many state’s sites and checking into their workers’ safety plans and current implementations, although each state offered some sort of health and wellness coverage/help for businesses, none of them came close to the efforts Ohio and the BWC have put forth in their recent acts. Some states such as Missouri boasted that they offered free safety and health services to their state’s businesses but there were many hoops and limits involved. The list for limits and requirements is enough to make anyone’s head spin. It felt as though they were wanting to offer the service to say they offered it but wanted to limit having to follow through on the offer.
Many states will do the minimum requirement but not all will go the extra mile that Ohio has in its recent efforts. We can only hope that more states will follow Ohio’s example in caring for their workers.
Please feel free to contact us or visit our website if you have questions about the safety and wellness in your company.