More often than not, CEOs and business owners place workers’ compensation near the top of the list of cost drivers for their company.
Last year, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) looked to ease this burden with several initiatives designed to reduce red tape and a base-rate reduction that resulted in more than $86 million in premium savings for public and private employers. The agency also saved an additional $80 million by cutting its own biennial budget by 12 percent.
Now, BWC is focusing on making workplaces safer and improving return-to-work rates. The agency’s leaders
believe improvements in these areas will bring further reductions in workers’ compensation costs for Ohio employers.
“Over the past four years, the number of injured workers getting back to work after sustaining a workers’ compensation claim has fallen from 75 percent to below 69 percent here in Ohio,” explains BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “Additionally, we’ve seen medical and indemnity costs rising faster than the national average.”
Destination: Excellence takes on troubling trends
With these statistics and trends as a backdrop, BWC created Destination: Excellence – a package of new and existing BWC programs – that allows companies to design a risk-management plan that suits their business needs.
Destination: Excellence’s program options:
- Address safety and accident prevention through on-site consultation by BWC experts, industry-specific training, rebates for safety council participation and help with implementing a drug-free program;
- Provide assistance with developing transitional work and vocational rehab programs, including grants to help develop these types of programs;
- Help save companies money on premiums through adoption of best practices and meeting certain performance
requirements. Additional savings are also possible for effective policy maintenance, such as doing business online and keeping current on premiums.
“We designed Destination: Excellence to align with our top priority of preventing injuries and getting injured workers healthy and back to work sooner,” Jeremy Jackson, BWC’s chief of public policy & strategy, explains. “A quick return to work has the dual benefit of saving money but, more importantly, increasing the chances of a positive outcome for the injured worker.”
From helping to review and develop a transitional work program to on-site safety and health consultation, BWC has experienced staff members to assist employers with all of the elements of Destination: Excellence. There is no additional cost to employers for these services.
BWC offering financial assistance with workplace wellness
In addition to Destination: Excellence, BWC recently unveiled its Workplace Wellness Grant Program for Ohio employers that want to improve the health and wellness of their workers through wellness programs. Developing workplace wellness initiatives can help employers control the escalating costs of health care by proactively addressing risk factors.
BWC will provide a grant over four years to implement wellness programs addressing health risk factors, such as obesity and chronic disease. Health experts often point to obesity as a key contributor to conditions that include hypertension, diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease and cancer. These conditions, in turn, can complicate workers’ compensation cases and returning injured workers back to work.
Visit ohiobwc.com/DestinationExcellence for more information about Destination: Excellence and the Workplace Wellness Grant Program.
BWC opens door to safety for Cincinnati manufacturer
Cincinnati-based Champion Door Manufacturing, which produces custom windows, doors and patio rooms, needed to develop better methods for finishing and packing products that could weigh as much as 600 pounds.
Mark Giordano, a BWC ergonomics consultant, visited with Champion’s management and staff to assess the company’s processes and to pinpoint particularly troublesome areas. Giordano and company officials decided work tables that could lift the mammoth doors and other products to an ergonomically correct height would greatly benefit workers.
With help from Giordano, Champion applied for 2-to-1 matching funds through BWC’s SafetyGRANT$ Program and received financial assistance to purchase five ergonomically correct work tables.
For more details about Champion’s partnership with BWC, visit the BWC Ohio channel on YouTube.