For the past 100 years, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has played a crucial role in protecting both Ohio’s workers and our businesses. This important government agency makes sure that injured employees are treated fairly, while striving to keep premiums low for their employers. Over the past year or so, the BWC has reduced spending and instituted several new programs to best serve our citizens. The Ohio House has collaborated with the BWC to accomplish these tasks and support an environment where businesses are free to grow and workers can feel safe.

For one, the BWC recently started its new Wellness Grant Program. This four year, $4 million initiative presents businesses with up to $15,000 to create worker wellness programs. These programs will aid employers in dealing with the obstacles associated with increased cases of chronic disease and obesity. They also will help to confront the challenges related to an aging workforce. Addressing these developments will help to cut down on workplace injuries.

Last year, the BWC established Destination: Excellence, a rating plan that increases return-to-work rates. To do this, the project rewards companies that make a risk-management plan to improve prevention and safety efforts, as well as efforts to get injured employees back to work more quickly. This program emphasizes flexibility by providing seven different plan options.

In addition to both of these new programs, the BWC has introduced a new means to spur economic development. Through the Grow Ohio Program, new employers are able to save up to 53 percent on workers’ compensation premiums in two ways. Over two years, they can receive a discount of 25 percent on premiums. Alternatively, these employers can skip the waiting period and join a group rating program right off the bat. This option can also lower their premiums by up to 53 percent.

Besides creating these projects, the BWC has made great strides in saving money for businesses, local governments and taxpayers alike. By reducing our budget by 12 percent over the next two years, the BWC is saving 80 million in tax dollars. Local governments will also be saving $22 million a year due to the reduction of Public Employer rates by 5 percent. Finally, the BWC has decreased average base rates by 4 percent, saving private employers $65 million in premiums.

The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has always been a vital organ in state government, and with all of these positive changes, it has become even more indispensable in the workplace. It is so important for government services to operate smoothly and efficiently, and my colleagues and I have worked hard to ensure that the BWC meets these standards. If you should have any questions concerning the new programs, my office is always available as a resource to you. I am confident that the BWC will now be even better at serving the interests of Ohio’s workforce and employers.


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