The data NIOSH researchers developed show that firefighters in turnout gear do not fit well in today

Ohio Comp Bureau Rebating $1 Billion, Launches Safety Campaign

The Bureau of Workers' Compensation will contribute to firefighter safety training and will collaborate with businesses, labor, and higher education to develop required training for high-risk specialties, including carpentry, welding, and plumbing.

Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich and Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer jointly announced Aug. 13 that there will be another $1 billion rebate to Ohio's private- and public-sector workers' compensation customers, as well as a new BWC investment in worker safety research and training. The "Another Billion Back" rebate follows last year's $1 billion rebate; both were made possible by strong investment returns in the workers' comp fund.

Kasich made the announcement at Portfolio Creative, a Columbus company that recruits and staffs talent for design, marketing, communications, and advertising work. It is among approximately 184,000 private and 3,800 public employers that are likely to receive a rebate, according to BWC. "Sound fiscal management and a well-executed investment strategy continue to put BWC in a position where it can return money to its customers—Ohio's employers—but also to workers in the form of initiatives that help them stay safe on the job," Kasich said. "Ohio continues its effort to transform the workers' comp system to be a better partner with employers and workers to help them succeed and stay safe, and the ability to make these types of significant rebates is part of that effort."

BWC’s preliminary annualized return of investments was 8.9 percent during the past three fiscal years, including 13.3 percent in 2014. The State Insurance Fund's net assets are $7.7 billion, and its funding ratio exceeds target guidelines set by the BWC board of directors. If the board approves at its September meeting, eligible private and public employers would receive a rebate equal to 60 percent of premiums paid during the July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013, policy year, and BWC could begin issuing checks as early as October.

Buehrer explained that safety initiatives his agency is proposing, including committing $1 million to training aimed at reducing injuries among firefighters and $1 million more on training for high-risk specialties, including carpentry, welding, and plumbing. "BWC's Division of Safety and Hygiene is a national leader in promoting safe and healthy workplaces," he said. "Our safety services provide a superior return on investment. We want to encourage more and more employers to put safety education resources to work to keep their workers safe and reduce their workers' comp costs. Our new safety initiatives will make these efforts more effective and accessible for employers."

He said BWC is launching a "Better Business Starts with Safety, Safety Starts at BWC" campaign to reach Ohio employers and encourage them to take advantage of BWC's safety services before experiencing a workplace injury or illness.

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