COLUMBUS — The Board of Directors for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) approved a proposal last week from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to send $1.5 billion of the agency’s revenues to Ohio employers covered by the BWC system.
BWC, the state’s insurance fund for injured workers, will begin sending checks to approximately 180,000 private and public employers in late September. It marks the fifth time since 2013 the agency has returned at least $1 billion to employers following strong investment returns, falling injury claims and other operational efficiencies.
“I am pleased that BWC’s Board of Directors agreed with our proposal to give this money to qualifying businesses, local governments, and school districts,” said Governor DeWine. “Employers will be able to reinvest these funds in their operations and their employees, which will further strengthen Ohio’s economy.”
The $1.5 billion equals 88 percent of the premiums employers paid for the policy year that ended June 30, 2018 (calendar year 2017 for public employers). While the bulk would go to private companies, an estimated $114 million would go to counties, cities, townships and other local government entities. Nearly $50 million would go to public school districts.
Preble County’s public schools and local government entities will share in a total $417,000, according to officials.
Employers are free to spend the funds as they wish, but BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud urges businesses to invest in workplace safety.
“Investing in safety reduces the risks for costly workplace injuries,” said Administrator McCloud. “It’s good for the health and safety of employees, it’s good for the company’s bottom line and it’s good for our economy.”
A similar breakdown for private employers will be available in late September.
One way to invest in workplace safety is to join the Preble County Safety Council, according to Preble County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Leslie Collins.
“Safety Council provides training, seminars and other educational opportunities for members so they can provide a safer environment for their employees and customers and better manager worker’s compensation claims,” she said last week. “Safety Council membership helps you receive a BWC insurance premium reduction of 2 percent, with an additional 2 percent reduction if claims are reduced 10 percent or kept at zero.”
Sign-ups for the Preble County Safety Council’s Fiscal Year, July 2019-June 2020, are under way now. Contact Virginia Lindsey at the Preble County Chamber of Commerce at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 937-456-4949 to find out more.
The BWC board’s vote continues a trend of lowering workers’ comp costs for Ohio employers. BWC has repeatedly lowered premium rates in recent years, including a 12 percent cut for public employers that took effect in January and a 20 percent cut for private employers that begins Monday. The agency returned $1 billion or more to employers in 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2018. It also returned $15 million in 2016 to counties participating in the Public Work Relief Employees’ Fund.
In total, BWC has saved employers nearly $10 billion in workers’ comp costs through dividends, credits, rate reductions and greater efficiencies since 2011.