GALLIPOLIS — The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation discussed changes to the organization’s policies Thursday morning with Gallia County business owners, with assistance from the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce.
BWC Southeast Regional Business Development Manager James Blazer and business consultant Todd Spence spoke with about 10 local business representatives in the conference room at the Ohio Valley Bank Annex building in Gallipolis. The BWC is transitioning to a prospective billing system for private employers. According to Blazer, the switch is meant to help his organization’s efforts in becoming more efficient in its compensation services, cut overall costs and aid in the detection of non-compliance and fraud. Instead of billing after an incident, advanced billing should result in rate reductions of roughly 2 percent for private employers.
BW expects to cover transitions costs to the new system for public and private employers with a $1.2 billion premium credit. A previous year’s payroll will help the bureau determine the annual premium cost for the coming policy year.
If an employer does not wish to pay its obligations up front, payment options are available, such as annual, bi-annual, monthly and quarterly options.
With the reporting of an employer’s payroll, this allows the bureau to curb fraud, as well as provide more accurate measurements for rate setting. If an employer fails to get its payroll report in on time, the bureau will not include the employer in some of its discount and cost-saving programs in the current year, as well as the following year. Uninsured businesses that receive claims for an injury or other such occurrence on a job will then be held responsible.
BWC is holding applications for businesses to help them through a grant that allows for up to $40,000 in safety equipment for a business’ efforts. According to the meeting, BWC helps provide a 3-to-1 match up to the $40,000 cap.
The state has set aside $15 million in grants and anticipates a 66 percent drop in workplace risk for businesses because of the safety intervention initiative.
One million dollars have been set aside to help further fund and train volunteer firefighters and their safety efforts, statewide.
As of 2014, Ohio had 2.9 claims per 100 people versus the national average of 3.3 claims per 100 people.
“The chamber is always seeking new ways to supply the local business community with useful and applicable information. Hosting representatives from the Ohio BWC is an example of the types of informational opportunities we want to continue providing in Gallia County,” said Jennifer Walker, associate director of Gallia County Chamber of Commerce. “Area businesses are encouraged to let us know their specific interests and concerns so we can plan future events based on their needs.”
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.