Ohio Drug Free Safety Program to Lower Workers Compensation Premiums

Ohio is the largest monopolistic state. All employers, who are not self-insured, must purchase their workers compensation coverage from the state. As the State of Ohio is acting as the insurance company for most Ohio employers, it is in the best interest of both the State of Ohio and the employers to have the least number of workers compensation claims possible. To achieve this goal, the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) offers a Drug-Free Safety Program.
The Drug-Free Safety Program (DFSP) provides a premium discount to private employers and governmental employers other than state agencies who implement the BWCs Drug Free Safety Program. (Employers who implement their own drug free program and not the BWCs DFSP do not receive the BWCs premium discount). The DFSP focus is the prevention of the use of alcohol and drugs while on the job. The intent of the DFSP is to incorporate the employers drug abuse prevention program into the safety program, resulting in both a safer work environment and work comp claim reduction. (WCxKit)
To be eligible to participate in the DFSP, the employer must:
Be in good standing with the BWC at the time of the application
Be current in the payment of their work comp insurance premiums [however, the BWC defines “current” as not more than 45 days past due in the payment of premiums, assessments, retrospective rating adjustments, and penalties]
Not allowed all lapses in work comp coverage to exceed 40 days combined in the 12 months prior to the initial application, or any subsequent renewal or the DFSP
Continue to meet all requirements for participation in the program
Levels of Participation:
There are two program levels that the employer can participate in, the Basic level and the Advanced level. The requirements for the Advanced level are more stringent and require greater participation by the employer.   The Basic level offers a premium discount of 4%, while the Advanced level offers a premium discount of 7%.   [Group experience rated employers receive a 3% discount and only if they are in the Advanced level of participation].
The DFSP requirements for both the Basic level and the Advanced level include;
1.      Accident analysis training within 30 days of the start of the program year or within 60 days for employees becoming a new supervisor
2.      Online accident reporting of all work comp claims
3.      Workplace safety review within 30 days of the start of the program year
4.      An annual report
5.      Safety Action Plan within 60 days of the start of the program year (optional for the Basic level)
6.      Written drug-free program policy outlining the details of the drug-free program
7.      Employee education – one hour of initial training when hired and one-hour refresher each year
8.      Supervisor training – two hours of initial training and one-hour refresher each year
9.      Drug & alcohol testing required of 100% of all pre-employment/new hires, reasonable suspicion testing, post-accident testing, return to duty testing, and follow up testing. The Advanced level also requires 15 percent random drug testing
10.An employee assistance program
Disallowance of Work Comp Claims:
Ohio law allows for the denial of workers compensation to employees who were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of their injury. The employee has the burden of proving the proximate cause of their injury was not the use of alcohol or drugs in order to have their claim consider. 
Examples of how this works:
1.      The employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and falls off scaffolding resulting in injuries. The work comp claim is denied.
2.      The employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and the scaffolding breaks resulting in injuries, the work comp claim would be accepted (assuming the scaffolding did not break due to improper assembly while the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol). (WCxKit)
For Ohio employers to apply for the premium reduction, the employer must indicate their desire to do so by completing the Application for Drug-Free Safety Program (U-140) [obtain a copy from the BWC website] and submitting it to the BWC. The employer must indicate whether they want to participate in the Basic or Advanced level of the DFSP.   There are two program years. The first program year is from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 which is open to all employers.    The Application for the DFSP must be submitted by last business day of October.   The second program year, which is open to only private employers, is from July 1 to June 30 of the following year. The application for the second program year must be submitted by the last business day of April.
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact:RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@WorkersCompKit.com.

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