In an effort to encourage employers to explore and utilize more of the safety services and programs administered by their Division of Safety and Hygiene (DSH), the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) developed the Industry-Specific Safety Program (ISSP). The aim of the program is to raise awareness about industry-specific safety issues among employers and their employees through online safety assessments. The program also provides access to ongoing training and education and individualized consultations to address safety issues in the workplace. Read on to explore the details of the ISSP and how your business can earn a 3-percent, industry-specific safety rebate by participating.

Getting started

Businesses that wish to participate in the ISSP must meet specific eligibility requirements established by the BWC. As your advisor on workers’ compensation cost-containment and cost-saving options, your third-party administrator (TPA) can provide you with additional assistance to determine your eligibility and help you decide if the program is a fit for your company.

As with most other BWC programs, applicants for the ISSP must be current on all BWC payments at the time of application and have no cumulative lapses in workers’ compensation coverage in excess of 40 days in the year prior to the application deadline. The BWC offers a complete listing of eligibility requirements.

To apply for the program, private employers must complete the Application for Industry-Specific Safety Program (SH-28) by the last business day in May. Public employers must submit their applications for participation by the last business day in November. Once accepted, the BWC will automatically renew eligible participants in the program each year. If you currently participate in other cost-saving programs, your TPA can help you verify whether or not they are compatible with the ISSP. Interested in exploring other cost-containment options? Check out 3 Discount Programs You Should Talk to Your TPA About.

Program requirements

Employers can receive a 3-percent, industry-specific rebate on their BWC premiums for participating in the ISSP. Each participating employer must commit to completing all the required activities during each program year. For private employers, the program year runs from July 1 through June 30; for public employers, the program year is January 1 through December 31).

Within the first 30 days of each program year, participating employers must complete an online safety management self-assessment. This self-assessment provides the foundation for the individualized safety issue consultations provided by the BWC to each employer.

Employers must also participate in a specific number of loss-prevention activities each year based on their reported payroll in the initial eligibility determination year. Employers with reported payroll of $100,000 or less must participate in one loss-prevention activity. Reported payroll of $100,000 to $300,000 increases the requirement to two. Finally, all employers with more than $300,000 in reported payroll must participate in three loss-prevention activities. The activities offered by the DSH are divided into three categories: Industry-specific safety classes; on-site safety consulting by DSH experts; and the Annual Ohio Safety Congress and Expo.

Industry-specific safety classes

Offered at 13 training sites across the state, DSH safety courses focus on the application of safety principles, how to develop a culture of safety, standards for regulatory compliance by industry, and risk programs. The complete list of courses offered, and additional information about whether each course qualifies for the ISSP, can be found in the Safety Services Catalog.

To satisfy the requirements for industry-specific safety classes, employers must complete a specific number training hours based on their reported payroll. Employers with $100,000 or less in payroll may utilize online classes to satisfy their training course requirements. Employers with payroll in excess of $100,000 must attend training in-person. The requirements for classes at each payroll level are:

  • Employers with payroll of $100,000 or less must complete at least one of the following:
    • Three hours of online classes.
    • A half-day industry-specific class.
    • A full-day industry-specific class.
  • Employers with payroll more than $100,000 and up to $300,000 must attend:
    • A half-day industry-specific class. OR
    • A full-day industry-specific class.
  • Employers with payroll more than $300,000 must attend:
    • Two half-day industry-specific classes. OR
    • One full-day industry-specific class.

On-site safety consulting

As part of the ISSP, DSH provides experts to conduct on-site safety consulting with each participating employer. These experts conduct a professional assessment, offer training opportunities, and provide advice on the development of safety programs to help businesses establish or maintain a safer work environment for employees. Each of the DSH’s 13 service offices has safety consultants, industrial hygienists, and ergonomists on-site to provide consultations to allow employers to satisfy an ISSP-qualifying loss prevention activity.

The BWCs safety experts offer the following consultation services for ISSP participants:

  • Company-specific safety training.
  • Customer safety team development.
  • Ergonomics assessment.
  • Industrial hygiene assessment.
  • Safety hazard assessment for construction.
  • Safety hazard assessment for general industry.
  • Safety management process evaluation.
  • Safety program/process development.

Employers must request safety consulting services to satisfy ISSP requirements in advance. Employers should request consultations well in advance to ensure that they are able to complete the requirement prior to the end of the program year. To earn credit for this loss prevention activity, employers must complete an online on-site consultation survey after the consultation has been completed. If you’re looking for additional assistance creating a safer work environment, read Ohio BWC Safety Intervention Grant Program.

Annual Ohio Safety Congress and Expo

The Midwest’s largest state-based workplace safety and health conference, the Annual Ohio Safety Congress and Expo delivers information and provides information about techniques to help prevent injuries in the workplace and control workers’ compensation costs. The Expo is free for all Ohio employers.

ISSP-participating employers can earn one loss prevention activity credit by attending three one-hour sessions or one half-day or full-day workshop at the Expo. ISSP participants should register in advance for each session to ensure that they are able to attend their first-choice sessions.

Safety-conscious and cost-conscious

As your advocate in the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) process, your TPA plays a critical role in helping you create a safer work environment and reducing costs for your business. Your TPA partner will help you decide if the Industry-Specific-Safety Program from the BWC is the right choice.

While the Ohio BWC may not require your company to use a TPA, the cost-savings and expertise of these groups can lead to reduced risk and lower costs for your company. Partnering with a TPA is an investment in your company’s future that can create a safer workplace for your employees and lead to lower premiums for your business.

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