Worker's Comp: Are your employees covered?

Submitted Published:

CAMBRIDGE -- The development of Ohio's shale by the gas and oil industry is attracting employers to the state from around the country. With this is mind, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation is conducting outreach efforts to employers who are setting up operations in Ohio, as well as those who will have employees working temporarily in the state.

"The BWC is engaging the industry to increase awareness on certain requirements, programs and services we offer while ensuring they have the appropriate coverage," said Scott St. Clair, BWC regional business consultant in Cambridge. "Given the significant growth in gas and oil in recent years, we believe there are both a large contingent of employers in the industry and in numerous ancillary occupations and services used to sustain the industry that could benefit from our services.

"While most businesses strive to understand the regulatory responsibilities regarding their industry, many may not realize the same with respect to Ohio's workers' compensation requirements, especially if they are operating out of state. There are issues we would like to make them aware of, including interstate jurisdiction, segregation of payroll, payroll reporting and the construction payroll cap, 1099s (and sub-contractors) and our various discount rating programs and safety services," said St. Clair.

Ohio is a monopolistic workers' compensation system which does not allow private insurers to underwrite workers' compensation policies for employers doing business in the state. Because of this, there are key coverage requirements that differ from the private coverage most gas and oil companies use.

Some employers assume an all-states endorsement exempts their company from obtaining Ohio workers' compensation coverage for employees who work temporarily in the state, however, Ohio Revised Code 4123.54, says the assumption is only partially true. More specifically, Ohio extends an exemption to employers from another state for their employees working temporarily in Ohio if the exemption is reciprocal -- the other state extends an exemption for Ohio employees working temporarily in their state.

It is important to ensure your company has the proper coverage for workers before you begin operations in Ohio.

"The BWC wants to play a helpful role with respect to economic development and we want this outreach to make a positive difference. Our goal is to make sure workers are safe at work while helping their employers to pay as little in workers' compensation premiums as possible. Further, we want to minimize any confusion and affirm our service and assistance at any level," said St. Clair. "Given the scale of businesses involved, we believe a comprehensive outreach to this employer base is important."

The Bureau's website has been updated with a page specifically for the oil and gas industry. The following link will take you directly to the page at www.ohiobwc.com:

https://www.ohiobwc.com/employer/brochureware/OilandGasIndustry.asp The link is also on the home page with a banner.

There is helpful information with specific contact information for each of the business consultants in the Oil and Gas region.

For questions or concerns about Ohio Workers' Compensation coverage requirements, contact a business consultant in one of the BWC customer service offices listed below.

Cambridge: Scott St. Clair, (740) 435-4251 or cell, (614) 357-9498; Canton: Lorrie Goodnight, (330) 471-0950; Columbus, Brian Jackson, (614) 728-8336, or cell (614) 359-3160; Cleveland (Garfield Heights): Kathy Fischer, (216) 584-0307 or cell (614) 357-7043 or Tom Gallagher, (216) 584-0275 or cell (216) 618-4048; Youngstown: Christine Williams, (330) 797-5038 or cell (614) 359-5400.

Visit the Ohio bureau of Workers' Compensation website at www.ohiobwc.com.

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