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Actions by Ohio BWC that made 2014 a good year for workers

Compared to other years, did you notice anything different about 2014 in relation to workers' compensation and workplace safety? If you didn't, you're not alone. Most people here in Ohio don't follow actions made by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' compensation. News outlets don't help either, oftentimes failing to report changes that have a huge impact on workers across the state.

But even though you may not have noticed any difference in 2014, it was a major year for our state because it lived up to its name: the year of workplace safety. Want to see how? Let's take a look.

One of the things that the Ohio BWC wanted to focus on in 2014 was workers' compensation rates, which is how much employers pay in to cover their employees. As you can imagine, consistently high rates have been a turn off for a number of employers in our state, leading to inadequate coverage for employees or sometimes none at all. This was a huge problem the BWC addressed in 2014 by reducing the rates among private employers as well as local governments.

Another major change that was established in 2014 and will be enforced through 2015 is how the BWC and employers address workers' compensation claims. After attending a Health Care Summit last year, many influential people across the state realized that as important as preventing workplace accidents is, providing injured workers with the benefits they deserve is far more important. That's why the BWC plans on working with employers throughout this year to improve payment systems so that employers can get benefits to injured workers more promptly, helping them to quickly recover and return to work faster.

Finally, the BWC took steps that will help employers provide safer working environments in the future. This was done through implementation of new workplace safety programs, extending the Safety Intervention Grant Program, and incorporating health and wellness programs into the Safety Council Program.

Although the BWC knows that it can never completely eliminate workplace accidents and injuries, it hopes that the steps in took in 2014 will help reduce those chances while at the same time helping those who do become injured easily get the benefits they deserve.

Source: The Marietta Times, "Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Comp. had eventful 2014," Jan. 12, 2015

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