Ohio Workers’ Compensation Update
Governor DeWine has signed into law some important changes to the Ohio workers’ compensation system. The changes, codified in H.B. 81, will go into effect on September 14, 2020. Here are the highlights:
- Statute of Limitations – An application for an additional award for a violation of a specific safety requirement (VSSR) must now be filed within one year after the date of the injury or disability (down from two years).
- Continuing Jurisdiction – the Industrial Commission now has jurisdiction to modify workers’ compensation orders within five years of medical services being rendered or the date of the last payment of compensation—this should have the effect of shortening the continuing jurisdiction of the Industrial Commission.
- Funeral Expenses – this one is a bit morbid— if an employee dies as a result of a workplace injury or occupational disease, the employee’s estate is now entitled to $7,500 in funeral expenses (up from $5,500).
- Detention Facilities & Corrections Officers – this one is a bit gross—employees of a detention facility, including corrections officers, are now covered by their employers for post-exposure medical diagnostic services that become necessary as a result of coming into contact with another’s blood or other bodily fluid, coming into contact with a drug or other chemical substance, and/or responding to an inherently dangerous situation while in the course of their duties.
- Voluntary Abandonment Defense – the Bill “supersede[s] any previous judicial decision that applied the doctrine of voluntary abandonment.” The Bill reads that if an employee’s inability to work and/or wage loss is a direct result of the workplace injury or occupational disease at issue, then the employee is entitled to compensation. If the inability to work and/or wage loss is a direct result of reasons unrelated to the workplace injury or occupational disease, however, then the employee is not entitled to compensation.
- Denying or Withdrawing Consent to Settlement – employers may no longer deny or withdraw consent to a workers’ compensation settlement application if (1) the claim is outside of the period in which the employer’s BWC rates are affected by the application, and (2) the employee is no longer employed by the employer.
Be sure to regularly check the Graydon HR Matters Blog for continued updates.