Last year at a homegrown t-shirt shop in Columbus, Governor Kasich joined the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) to announce the Billion Back plan. In addition to returning $1 billion in rebates directly to Ohio employers, the plan included modernization of BWC’s billing system and the tripling of funding available for safety grants that support safe workplaces. A year later, Ohio employers and workers continue to benefit from the Billion Back plan.
The Safety Intervention Grant Program, which was expanded under Billion Back, has gained significant popularity and a record $15 million in grants was awarded to 535 employers over the last year. The program provides employers financial assistance to purchase equipment that reduces the risk of occupational injuries and illnesses.
“Employers are showing great interest in workplace safety and many now own cutting-edge safety equipment as a result of the grant program,” said Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “The new equipment – some of which I’ve had the opportunity to see firsthand – protects the safety and wellbeing of employees, and also improves the efficiency of operations. We look forward to partnering with more innovative Ohio employers that are working very hard to protect their workers.”
Employers are also on track to receive a $1.2 billion credit as BWC implements a new, industry standard billing system that will collect premiums before extending coverage. The credit will prevent employers from being “double-billed” as the transition occurs. In addition to simplifying the billing process for employers and providing more payment options, the change will result in an overall rate reduction of two percent for private employers and four percent for public employer taxing districts. Prospective billing will be effective July 1, 2015, for private employers, and Jan. 1, 2016, for public employers.
“The positive economic benefit of returning $1 billion directly to Ohio employers to invest back into their business and communities was clear from the onset,” added Buehrer. “But these additional commitments we’ve made to workplace safety and modernizing our business practices, are also supporting the success of Ohio employers as well as BWC’s ongoing mission to improve the workers’ compensation system and better serve our customers.”
Learn more about the Safety Intervention Grant Program and view the stories of previous grant recipients at bwc.ohio.gov or BWC’s YouTube channel.