Ohio Workers’ Compensation Medical & Health Symposium March 8 – 9, 2018

Greater Columbus Convention Center, 400 N. High St., Columbus, Ohio

Seats are still available for our symposium’s provider clinical education sessions. We remind medical practitioners to register online today for our free symposium that focuses on Comprehensive Care for an Injured Worker. Based on your schedule, you may register for one or more sessions on either or both days. If you haven’t registered, take time to view the brochure here.

Added benefits: free continuing education, leading experts
Free continuing education credits are approved for select provider clinical education sessions for licensed health-care professionals. You will hear from leading state, national and international experts in their fields. An overwhelming percentage (94 percent) of last year’s attendees rated the presentation quality as excellent to very good. You don’t want to miss it!

The symposium kicks off with Dale Hull, M.D., who was paralyzed from a catastrophic injury explaining what happens “When Change Chooses You.” Here are the sessions that follow. It ends with Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison reviewing “BWC Initiatives and Strategies – A Medical Focus” and Brad Hurtig, who lost both hands from a workplace injury, presenting “Find a Way: Turning Obstacles into Opportunities.”

Website, information
Our website outlines the details for session topics and speakers. If you have questions, call BWC’s provider contact center at 1-800-644-6292, options 0-3-0, or email medsymposium@ohio.gov.

The Medical & Health Symposium runs in conjunction with BWC’s Ohio Safety Congress & Expo. Together, we can make a difference in the care of Ohio’s injured workers – at home and at work.

On behalf of everyone at BWC, we look forward to seeing you March 8 – 9.

Exoskeletons gain momentum in preventing ergonomic injuries

By Delia Treaster, PhD, CPE, BWC Ergonomic Technical Advisor

Exoskeletons are here! Formerly found in science fiction or action movies, exoskeletons have made the transition from fantasy to reality.

Exoskeletons are wearable devices that augment the physical capability of the worker. They have been developed for military operations and medical rehabilitation, but exoskeletons are increasingly found in industry. The expectation is that exoskeletons can protect workers by reducing the ergonomic hazards of physically demanding jobs, thereby allowing them to work with less fatigue and discomfort.

Some exoskeletons are designed to provide postural support to the legs. Other exoskeletons provide assistance to the back or arms during lifting tasks. Yet another type of industrial exoskeletons may assist the whole body.

Despite their tantalizing promise of reduced fatigue and improved safety, there are many unanswered questions regarding the use of exoskeletons in industrial jobs.

  • What are the short- and long-term consequences of using an exoskeleton on muscle conditioning and coordination?
  • Does an exoskeleton affect a worker’s sense of balance or alter movement patterns?
  • What physical sizes can be accommodated by the exoskeleton?
  • What kind of training and how much training is needed for a worker to use an exoskeleton in performing his/her job?
  • Are exoskeletons accepted by workers – why or why not?
  • How effective are exoskeletons in reducing ergonomic injuries?

On March 9, 2018, a workshop at the 2018 Ohio Safety Congress & Expo will provide an overview of industrial exoskeletons. Exoskeleton manufacturers will demonstrate the features of their products and discuss their potential for improving safety and productivity.

Researchers will share results of their studies on the impact of exoskeletons on the human body. End users will share their experiences in using exoskeletons in real-world production jobs. Knowledge gleaned from this workshop will assist industry decision makers in determining whether exoskeletons would be beneficial to their operations and which exoskeletons would be most suitable.

Ohio Safety Congress & Expo attendees may also see various exoskeleton models and talk to sales representatives by visiting the exoskeleton booths in the Expo Marketplace (Hall B, Aisle 900) on March 7 and 8.

Admission to the workshop is free but seating is limited. Register in advance by calling 614-466-7695 or through online registration.

Only two weeks until Ohio Safety Congress & Expo tips off!

Here are just some of the highlights

By Erik Harden, BWC Public Information Officer

Keeping workers safe on the job is truly a team effort. From frontline workers to upper management, teamwork, practice and planning are all necessary elements.

This year’s Ohio Safety Congress & Expo (OSC18) is here to assist in developing a winning game plan to help slash your workers’ comp costs and, more important, to keep your workforce safe and healthy.

With only two weeks until tip-off, it’s crunch time to get registered for the largest regional safety and health conference in the United States. Over three days, we’ll provide hundreds of educational courses and showcase scores of vendors in the Expo Marketplace. OSC18 also features a roster of world-class keynote speakers in our general sessions.

Wednesday, March 7 – 9:45 to 10:45 a.m.

Welcome and opening remarks
Sarah D. Morrison
Administrator/CEO, Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC)

Morrison, who has led BWC since May 2016, will set the stage for OSC18 with her opening remarks.

Followed by

Ready to Win: Creating Effective Teams
Terry L. Mathis
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, ProAct Safety

Organizations with excellent safety performance make safety a team effort. But what does it take to make a winning team? This session explores the characteristics and capabilities that make up an effective team and applies specific methods to each that have proven effective at other organizations.  Sitting people around a table and calling them a team is not going to prove successful. Learn what it takes to build a highly-functioning safety team and shape your efforts around proven methodologies.

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Wednesday, March 7 – 1:15 to 2:15 p.m.

The Game-Winning 3
Dave Davlin
Owner, DTD Communications

 Davlin was deserted by his father when he was less than a year old. He was forced to live with his grandmother until age 10. It was under her guidance that he learned about the qualities of integrity and honesty. With his quick wit and master story-telling ability, Davlin challenges attendees to pursue a new level of personal and professional excellence. “Travelin” Davlin has inspired people of every age and background – from NBA and major college arenas across America to the Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. Davlin plays competitive golf on the Golf Channel AM Tour and landed his name and picture in the 1990 Guinness Book of World Records. We all get one shot at this life. Make it count.

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Thursday, March 8 – 9:45 to 10:45 a.m.

Tools to Re-energize Your Team in Crazy Times
Linda Edgecomb
Resilience Strategist and Team Engagement Expert

Edgecombe’s footprint is seen and experienced around the world. Her non-BS approach is funny, refreshing, engaging and relevant. She is a bestselling author and her promise is to help you create powerful shifts, become more resilient and build on momentum. She has been featured in the Wall Street Journal as an expert in “Shifting Perspectives.” Currently, she is filming her reality show “Re-Set TV,” where she gives advice to busy families and out-of-control work teams. Her message is as welcomed as a deep belly laugh and as profound as an honest look in the mirror.

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Other OSC18 highlights

 Safety Innovations Awards
The Safety Innovation Awards recognize the development of innovative ergonomic and/or safety solutions in the workplace. A panel of judges and audience input determine which of four finalists has Ohio’s most innovative solution. We offer cash awards to the finalists for their solutions to an occupational safety or health issue. Stop by booth 933 in the Expo Marketplace to see this year’s finalists and to vote for your favorite.

Exoskeleton displays and workshop
Learn how these wearable devices that augment human activities reduce physical stresses on the body and allow workers to work longer with less fatigue.

Displays – Wednesday and Thursday Hall B, Aisle 900

Industrial Exoskeletons Workshop (#9231) – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4: 30 p.m.

Visit www.ohiosafetycongress.com to register and plan your visit to OSC18. We look forward to seeing you March 7-9 at the Columbus Convention Center!

Central Ohio man convicted of work comp fraud

Employment scheme implicates girlfriend

A Lancaster man must pay the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation nearly $7,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to workers’ compensation fraud Monday for a scheme that could land his girlfriend in court as well.

Charles Malone, 43, worked for a heating and air conditioning company for six months in 2016 while simultaneously collecting injured worker benefits from BWC. To hide his employment, he duped his employer into issuing his paychecks to his girlfriend in her name.

“He gave his employer a plausible explanation, and they fell for it,” said Jim Wernecke, director of BWC’s special investigations department. “As for the girlfriend, she could also face charges for her role in helping Mr. Malone defraud our agency.”

A judge in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas sentenced Malone to 180 days in jail, the maximum for a first-degree misdemeanor. He then suspended the jail sentence for five years of community control (probation) under the condition that Malone maintains employment and pays BWC $6,879 in restitution.

In other fraud news, a Cleveland-area man pleaded guilty on Monday to a first-degree misdemeanor charge of workers’ compensation fraud after BWC investigators discovered him operating his sports video business while collecting disability benefits.

A Franklin County judge ordered Kyle E. Goodwin, 47, of Westlake, to pay BWC $2,978 in restitution. He sentenced Goodwin to 180 days in jail (suspended) and 12 months of community control.

Acting on a tip, BWC investigators found Goodwin continued working for his business, OhioSportsNet LLC, in 2016 and 2017 after he claimed to be temporarily totally disabled. They found he earned $9,025 obtaining, editing and producing videos for various high school sports teams, sports clubs and high school athletes.

To report suspected workers’ compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 or visit bwc.ohio.gov.

BWC secures three convictions in January

Two for work comp fraud, one for lapsed coverage

A funeral home worker and two cleaning company owners owe the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation $30,000 after pleading guilty to workers’ compensation fraud or related charges in January, the bureau’s first convictions of the new year.

“It’s thanks to honest citizens who report suspected fraud that we’re able to investigate many of our cases and stop this criminal activity in its tracks,” said Jim Wernecke, director of BWC’s special investigations department (SID). “The money we recover from people trying to cheat our system will go where it rightfully belongs — taking care of injured workers and helping employers create safer workplaces across this state.”

Those convicted include:

Oran Lewis of Columbus, Working and Receiving — Acting on a tip, investigators surveilled Lewis and uncovered evidence proving he worked for two funeral homes as a funeral procession escort on multiple occasions while collecting injured worker benefits from BWC.

Lewis pleaded guilty on Jan. 24 to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail, which was suspended for one year of community control (probation). He must pay $10,442 in restitution to BWC.

Amanda Joy Klapp of Hudson, Ohio, dba Amanda Joy Cleaning Company LLC, Under Reporting Payroll — BWC’s employer fraud team received an anonymous allegation that Klapp was operating her business without workers’ compensation coverage. Agents discovered that Klapp had employees when she opened her business in 2013, but she didn’t secure BWC coverage until 2015. She then intentionally under-reported her payroll to avoid paying a higher premium. When she stopped paying her premiums and her policy lapsed, she attempted to take out a new policy using her husband’s name to avoid paying the balance owed on her original policy.

Klapp pleaded guilty Jan. 9 to three counts of workers’ compensation fraud, all first-degree misdemeanors, in Stow Municipal Court in Summit County. A judge sentenced her to 180 days in jail with 150 days suspended and ordered her to serve 30 days of house arrest. The judge fined Klapp $500 on each count, then suspended half the total. The judge ordered Klapp to bring her workers’ compensation coverage into compliance within 30 days and to pay $14,000 in restitution to BWC.

Robert Settlemoir of Columbus, dba Pro Clean Carpet and Upholstery, Lapsed Coverage — Investigators found Pro Clean Carpet and Upholstery had been operating since 2011 without workers’ compensation coverage. BWC attempted to work with Settlemoir to bring his policy into compliance, but Settlemoir failed to take the necessary steps.

Settlemoir pleaded guilty on Jan. 25 to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail, suspended for two years of community control. Conditions of community control are that Settlemoir obtain employment and pay restitution of $5,482 to BWC.

To report suspected workers’ compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 or visit bwc.ohio.gov.

BWC spotlights employers’ workplace safety ingenuity

By Erik Harden, BWC Public Information Officer

At BWC, we’re constantly amazed at the innovative ideas employers have for tackling workplace hazards. To spotlight these employers, their ingenuity and their commitment to workplace safety, we sponsor our annual Safety Innovation Awards.

We created the program to recognize innovations that result in risk reduction, cost savings, and potential application to other workplaces, industries or operations. Innovations can range from a newly–created piece of equipment, tool, process or method to an existing one that an employer has improved or uses in a new or creative way.

After careful consideration of dozens of applications and visits to the sites of eight semifinalists, we are pleased to announce the following employers as the four finalists for the 2018 Safety Innovation Awards.

MPW Industrial Services (Hebron) – M1-RV crawler
A remote-controlled vacuuming system that cleans clarifier tanks; it eliminates employee exposure from hazards of entering and cleaning clarifier tanks

Navistar (Springfield) – Cab destructive weld tear down
An articulating arm that holds a worker’s pneumatic tool during weld tear down of truck cabs; it reduces the potential of falling, bad postures and awkward positions due to high reaction forces on employees during the process

Ramco Electric Motors (Greenville) – Aluminum die-casting automated biscuit return
A conveyor system that delivers aluminum die-casting byproducts (aka “biscuits”) from the casting machine back to the 1,300-degree liquid aluminum bath; the system eliminates the exposures of an individual performing the task of dropping the biscuits back in the crucible

Terracon Consultants Inc. (Cincinnati) – YM3000 pin puller
A redesigned T-handle that is adjustable in height and allows employees to remain standing when pulling 28-inch pins (used for soil density readings) from the ground; it decreases the potential of back or wrist strains from pin pulling, helps reduce fatigue and increases productivity

The four finalists will present their innovations to a three-judge panel and the public at our Ohio Safety Congress & Expo 2018 (OSC18) in Columbus on March 7-9.

The panel of independent judges will select the winners using a number of criteria, including risk reduction, innovation, return on investment, potential for other employers to use the innovation and presentation quality. OSC18 attendees can cast a vote for their favorite innovation to determine the recipient of The People’s Choice award.

We will present the awards and monetary prizes during a ceremony at OSC18. However, the real winners are the employees of these companies. Innovations like the ones listed above help workers stay safe and healthy, increase productivity and morale, and produce long-term cost savings.

Working while receiving?

By Jeff Baker, Program Administrator, BWC Special Investigations Department

Working while receiving benefits is one of the most common types of fraud our investigators uncover. In fiscal year 2017, 57 out of 133 criminal convictions were claimants working while receiving lost time benefits to which they were not entitled.

Working while receiving is one of the most obvious and flagrant abuses of the system. It is particularly regrettable since the claimants were, at one time, truly injured and entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

We make every effort to ensure that each claimant knows the well-established rules. The fraud warning messages are clear, explicit and conspicuously placed on forms. For example, a fraud warning message (pictured below) appears on the BWC form to be signed by a claimant to request temporary total lost time benefits.

Fortunately, the vast majority of claimants return to work when they are able and notify BWC that they intend to do so. They understand and accept that their lost time benefits achieved their essential purpose – they provided compensation while the claimant temporarily could not work and was recuperating from an accident, illness or injury.

No matter how clever an individual may be, if he or she commits the crime of returning to work while receiving workers’ compensation benefits, the tell-tale signs remain. Rest assured, we are looking for, investigating, and prosecuting these cases. They will lose their lost time benefits and perhaps their freedom as well.