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Employers share $15 million in safety grants

Posted On: Dec. 4, 2015 12:00 AM CST

More than 570 Ohio employers will receive nearly $15 million in safety grants from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

These employers will split the $15 million in funds under the Safety Intervention Grant Program, which provides matching funds to both public and private sector employers in Ohio to purchase equipment to reduce or eliminate workplace injuries and illnesses, the bureau said Wednesday in a statement. The program provides employers with a 3-to-1 match, up to a maximum of $40,000.

“Ohio’s employers value the safety of their workers and understand how investments in safety can reduce injuries and increase productivity,” Steve Buehrer, the bureau’s administrator and CEO, said in a statement. “We have seen our injury claims drop more than 10% percent, from 105,000 to 94,000 over the past five years, which tells us Ohio’s workplaces are getting safer.”

Claims that involve medical care only as well as those involving time off work have both dropped since fiscal year 2011, according to the bureau. In fiscal year 2015, the bureau approved 81,348 medical-only claims and 11,870 lost time claims compared to 89,505 medical only and 13,296 lost-time claims in fiscal year 2011.

This drop in claims has helped reduce employer rates, with private employers in the monopolistic state seeing rates decline 21.4% and public employers experiencing a 26.5% reduction since 2011, according to the bureau.

“Ohio’s safety grant program is a proven way for employers to reduce exposure to hazards and consequently prevent accidents and injuries in their workplaces,” Abe Al-Tarawneh, the bureau’s chief of safety and hygiene, said in the statement. “Our data show that employers who participated in this program in the past managed to reduce the frequency and cost of injuries in the area of the intervention by 66% and 81%, respectively.”