On Aug. 13, 2014, Gov. John R. Kasich and BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer announced a $1 billion rebate to Ohio's private employers and public employer taxing districts, as well as a major new investment in worker safety research and training. (Please see the Additional resources to the right for more detailed information).
Dubbed Another Billion Back, the rebate comes on the heels of last year's $1 billion rebate for Ohio employers. Both rebates were made possible by strong investment returns in the workers' compensation fund. The proposal:
- Provides a one-time rebate of $1 billion for private employers and public employer taxing districts;
- Increases BWC’s commitment to safety by up to $35 million over the next two years;
- Creates several new safety initiatives that use BWC’s occupational health and safety expertise to create innovative solutions for improving the safety, health and wellness of Ohio’s workforce.
Focusing on safety
Another Billion Back also seeks to build on last year's $15 million investment in safety intervention grants with several initiatives that will ultimately enhance the safety, health and wellness of Ohio's workforce. Additionally, special safety training is proposed to reduce injuries among firefighters, whom frequently have very high workers’ compensation rates due to the dangerous and risky nature of their work.
Additionally, we are embarking on a safety campaign themed Better Business Starts with Safety, Safety Starts at BWC to reach Ohio employers and encourage them to take advantage of our safety services before experiencing a workplace injury or illness. A new microsite allows employers to compare injury rates and costs within and across industry sectors. It also links employers directly to our safety consultants, who can survey their workplace and advise them on preventing workplace injuries and illnesses.
Continuing positive trends
Another Billion Back is the latest example of our work over the last four years to be a better partner in improving Ohio’s business environment and helping encourage the state's economic revival. Sound financial and operational management has also allowed us to:
- Reduce average base rates for Ohio's private employers, bringing combined four-year collections down $409 million;
- Reduce average rates for public employers by an estimated $70 million, placing them at their lowest levels in at least 30 years;
- Commit $1.2 billion in transition credits to Ohio employers as part of the conversion to prospective billing;
- Expand safety funding, which resulted in allowed claims dropping below 100,000 for the first time.