Ohio BWC To Offer Grant Savings For Wholesale, Retail Employers

                               Columbus, OH (CompNewsNetwork) - Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) Administrator/CEO (BWC) Stephen Buehrer today announced a grant program to reduce or eliminate occupational injuries and illnesses in the wholesale/retail trade sector. As part of BWC's ongoing research partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to enhance safety practices for Ohio's workforce, the program provides funds to employers in this sector to purchase safety equipment while participating in a study that will guide future programming and establish best practices for accident and injury prevention.

“Safety is paramount to BWC's mission and the most effective way to prevent injuries and accidents is to thoughtfully structure our programming in such a way that maximizes our resources by targeting the issues and challenges that are unique to particular employer types,” said Administrator/CEO Buehrer.  “Ohio wholesale/retail employers have a unique opportunity with this program to not only save money, improve safety and reduce injuries in the short term, but to also contribute to research that can help lower workers' comp costs in the future.”

Participating employers will receive 2-to-1 matching funds, up to $40,000, through BWC's SafetyGRANT$ Program to purchase equipment that can reduce workplace injuries and illnesses.  In return, employers agree to take part in a two-year follow-up study with BWC and NIOSH to determine the cost effectiveness of these interventions in reducing occupational injuries.

BWC entered into a research partnership with NIOSH last fall to examine why injuries occur, and how to help Ohio businesses prevent accidents in the future. This study of the wholesale/retail trade sector represents the first major collaboration resulting from the partnership. The goal is to reduce injuries and illnesses, particularly musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and traumatic slip/trip/fall injuries that are prevalent in this industry.  MSDs account for 40 percent of lost-time claims in this industry; sprains and strains account for 77 percent of these MSDs.

Eligible employers pay into the State Insurance Fund and operate in the wholesale/retail trade sector, or perform delivery operations of large items (e.g., appliances, furniture, vending machines, furnaces, water heaters, etc).  Half of the participating employers will receive funds when the study begins this winter; the other half will receive them in spring 2012.

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