Ohio workplaces will continue to become safer, and injured workers will be helped to recover and return to work. This was what a Columbus lawmaker said when the new budget was recently finalized for the Bureau of Workers' Compensation. He stated that although the BWC budget showed no increase or decrease for the specific two-year period, additional provisions would be available.
Landscapers in Ohio were recently reminded of the dangers posed by the sun. The hottest time of the year -- with extended hours of daylight -- is the period from June through August, and heat-related workers' compensation claims are most prevalent at this time. The nature of their industry puts employees in excessive heat for the majority of each workday. Health and safety authorities underscored the importance of teaching teenagers in part-time summer jobs about the dangers of heat exposure.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently announced the conclusions of an investigation into the death of a 61-year-old employee of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. in March. The fatal workplace accident occurred at one of the Ohio-based company's facilities in another state. Although such investigations can take months to complete, the surviving family members can take steps to file workers' compensation death benefits claims immediately after the tragedy.
In Ohio, politicians are debating the rights of undocumented workers. It involves a proposal that passed the House and is now being considered by the Senate that would bar undocumented employees from receiving workers' compensation benefits following on-the-job injuries. Opponents believe the bill would encourage lax workplace safety.
Some Ohio workers have to deal with the risks of suffering catastrophic injuries during every shift they work -- often because their employers disregard worker safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently announced that a manufacturer of garage doors was fined more than $515,000 for safety violations, including three cases within three months in which workers suffered amputation injuries due to unsafe work environments. Fortunately, workers' compensation benefits are available for injured workers.
Business owners in Ohio must provide certain insurance coverage for all their employees. Workers' compensation benefits typically cover any injury or illness suffered on the job, and the severity generally determines the level of coverage. It could be medical only or with disability benefits if there is a period of absence from work. However, not all claims are approved for payment.
In Ohio and other states, strict regulations exist when it comes to underage employees. They are prohibited from doing some jobs and operating certain equipment. If a young worker suffers on-the-job injuries, the Ohio workers' compensation program may double or triple the benefits paid to the victim. The aim is to prevent exploitation of juveniles in the workplace.
All occupations pose some level of danger, and in most workplace environments, compliance with federal safety regulations can prevent injuries and death. However, some jobs expose Ohio workers to risks that are not easy to eliminate. One such occupation is firefighting, which exposes firefighters to various carcinogens. Obtaining workers' compensation benefits for occupational injuries is typically incredibly challenging.
Ohio workers in all industries are no doubt aware that they are entitled to pursue financial relief in the event of workplace accidents that cause injuries and time away from work. However, some may not understand how the workers' compensation program works and how long they will have to wait for receipt of benefits. All payments to injured workers will be based on the severity of the injuries and the amount of time it takes the injured employee to return to work, if he or she is ever able to return at all.
The number of ladder accidents that cause injuries to workers in various industries nationwide every year, including in Ohio, is concerning. So much so that March is National Ladder Safety Month. This might address the prevalence of workers' compensation claims by victims of ladder accidents. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, emergency rooms see 500 victims of work-related ladder accidents every day of the year.