A look behind the scenes of OSC19

By Erik Harden, BWC Public Information Officer

In a week, the Ohio Safety Congress & Expo (2019) will be here. However, much of the planning and preparation to bring OSC19 to thousands of attendees started almost a year ago.

In May 2018, just two months after wrapping up OSC18, we kickstarted OSC19 with a call for presentation proposals from local and national safety and health experts. Around this same time, more than 200 volunteers on 35 committees also began meeting to develop educational sessions for this year’s event.

These committees represent subjects ranging from ergonomics and industrial hygiene to small businesses and workforce diversity. The industry experts on these committees allow us to develop sessions highlighting newsworthy issues such as the impact of the opioid epidemic on the workplace to cutting-edge research and development in safety and health.

By late August, staff from our Division of Safety & Hygiene and Communications Division created OSC19’s “Connecting YOU to Safety & Health” theme and design after many brainstorming meetings and discussions. Each year, we center our marketing campaign, promotional materials and on-site signage around a unified look and message.

Safety congress is well-known for its Expo Marketplace for good reason. Every year, we work diligently to attract new and interesting vendors offering the latest products and services for keeping Ohio’s workforce safe and healthy. For the fifth straight year, we’ve sold all the vendor space on the expo floor – well over 200 exhibitors will be on hand this year.

Additionally, our staff negotiates with local hotels to ensure there is affordable lodging for attendees. We work with the convention center on logistics, room assignments, etc. several months in advance. Within six months of the event, we have secured dynamic speakers for the general sessions, recruited educational session instructors and applied for a variety of continuing education credits.

Attendees also play a huge role in planning the following year’s event. Every year we ask attendees to complete a customer satisfaction survey. We use the results and feedback from the survey to make sure we are continuously updating and improving the event.

All the planning, preparation and commitment from staff and volunteers results in an event we’re proud of, and one that makes Ohio a safer place to work and live. We look forward to connecting with YOU at OSC19.

Safety Innovation Awards finalists show their ingenuity

By Jeffrey Hutchins, Industrial Hygiene Technical Advisor

The ingenuity many Ohio employers use to overcome workplace hazards is always inspiring. To spotlight these employers, their innovative spirit 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, we are pleased to introduce the following employers as the four finalists for the 2019 Safety Innovation Awards.

Francis Manufacturing Company (Russia) – Hapman Sand Conveyance System

Francis Manufacturing Company is a family-owned aluminum sand foundry that produces castings weighing fractions of an ounce to several hundred pounds. The sand molding process required approximately 20 workers to shovel sand from floor level into the molding machines. This could require workers to shovel more than 20,000 pounds of sand per nine-hour shift, resulting in significant ergonomic risks for back and upper extremity injuries.

Francis Manufacturing Company worked with Hapman, a material handling equipment company, to design a hopper-conveyor system. Workers now fill the hopper with a skid steer loader, eliminating the shoveling. The conveyor automatically dispenses sand into molds, further reducing upper extremity ergonomic risks.

Since installing the first unit in April 2015, the company has not experienced a musculoskeletal injury in the molding area. Automating the molder’s sand handling has resulted in reduced absenteeism and increased production. Workers have reported increased energy at the end of shifts and have fewer complaints of back and shoulder pain.

J&R Farms (Mount Vernon) – Grain Engulfment Prevention/Retrieval System

J&R Farms is a multi-location grain cooperative with day-to-day operations focusing on storing, drying and handling grain. During unloading, the grain flows downward from the top center of the bin, creating a “funnel” effect, drawing material and objects down to the conveyor where an unloading auger at the bottom of the bin transports the grain outside. Therefore, workers need fall and engulfment protection when accessing grain bins for maintenance or housekeeping.

J&R Farms installed a grain engulfment prevention/retrieval system inside the bins that provides a high anchor point at the bin peak and an anchor point/davit arm mounting sleeve outside the roof access manway. A lifeline and belay line protect workers before entering the bin and while they are inside it. A linear cable fall protection system, across the roof of the control room, provides proper tie-off for workers. J&R Farms also installed tie-off points and temporary anchor slings in several frequently-accessed locations on the outside of the bin as well as a fall protection system under the loadout tank (hopper area). Select entry points also have a bin entry kit consisting of pre-rigged/pre-tied: main line, belay line, haul system, lift bag, two rescue-style padded harnesses and a “Y”-lanyard. Finally, workers can deploy an aluminum davit arm retrieval system to rescue a victim out of a bin and lower them safely to the ground.

Although the rescue system has not been deployed in a rescue to date, workers frequently use tie-off points during maintenance and housekeeping to provide 100-percent fall protection and peace of mind to workers.

TERYDON Inc. (Navarre) – Touch-Screen Tablet Wireless Control (a.k.a. “Lunch Box”)

TERYDON Inc. is primarily focused on designing and manufacturing high-pressure water jet systems, tooling and accessories. High-pressure water jet cleaning exposes workers to serious laceration hazards from direct contact with the water jet and chemical hazards associated with the material they are cleaning. Exposure to slips, trips and falls, excessive noise, and ergonomic stresses are also common when workers are positioning jetting lances, hoses and cables.

TERYDON designed and built a tablet-based controller that allows the operator to control the water jet via a Bluetooth®-connected device. This removes operators from the point of water jet operation, effectively eliminating their exposure to slip/trip/fall, laceration, chemical, noise and ergonomic hazards associated with manual manipulation of the hoses and cables.

Since introducing the innovation in 2013, Lunch Box users have experienced no water jet-related injuries due to chemical contact, water jet lacerations or repetitive motion injuries. Users also report a significant increase in productivity due to the Lunch Box’s ability to simultaneously control multiple water jet lances. It has also eliminated the need for frequent breaks associated with manual water jetting.

Yoder Drilling & Geothermal Inc. (Sugarcreek) – Geothermal Grouter Pipe/Loop Reel

Yoder Drilling & Geothermal Inc. provides installation of vertical, horizontal and pond loop geothermal applications.

Prior to the innovation, workers would manually force up to 200 feet of geothermal pipe down the pre-drilled hole. Additionally, they would also push down the grout hose that back-fills the hole once the pipe is in place. This exposed workers to repetitive strain injuries from pushing/pulling tasks, as well as heat/cold stress and slips/trips/falls from slippery drilling spoils. Yoder worked with several manufacturers to build a hydraulically-powered hose reel to eliminate virtually all manual pushing/pulling. The worker now controls the powered reel from a skid steer rather than pushing/pulling the hose. This also removes them from the slippery ground surrounding the borehole.

Since introducing the innovation in 2016, the company has not experienced any repetitive strain or slip/trip/fall-related injuries. The powered hose reel has increased production and efficiency. Finally, it has allowed Yoder to bid on work it previously deferred because the larger diameter hose a job required could not be manually inserted.

The four finalists will be on hand at the Safety Innovation Awards booth at the Ohio Safety Congress & Expo 2019 (OSC19) March 6-8 in Columbus. Stop by to learn more about the innovations when you’re at OSC19.

We will present awards and monetary prizes to the finalists during OSC19, but the real winners are the employees of these companies. Innovations like the ones above help workers stay safe and healthy, increase productivity and morale, and produce long-term cost savings.

Receptionist owes BWC $19K after fraud conviction

Agency secures six convictions in January

A Bellefontaine woman who worked as a receptionist while claiming to be disabled from work owes the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation nearly $19,000 following her conviction last month on a felony workers’ compensation fraud charge.

A Franklin County judge on Jan. 16 ordered Dawn M. Hattery, 50, to reimburse BWC $17,937 and pay $1,000 in investigation costs for working while collecting BWC benefits from January to November 2017. The judge also sentenced her to five years of probation after she pleaded guilty to the fifth-degree felony.

“Ms. Hattery not only broke the law deceiving this agency, she earned a criminal record that will follow her for years to come,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “Our role is to compensate workers while they’re recovering from injury, not pad the income of people trying to cheat the system.”

In other convictions last month:

  • Marc E. Pope, 50, of Cleveland, paid BWC $23,793 in restitution Jan. 30 before his guilty plea on two first-degree misdemeanor counts of workers’ compensation fraud in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. BWC found Pope working multiple jobs while collecting disability benefits from the agency.
  • Kenneth Miller, owner of Grant Street Pallet Inc. in Lisbon, Ohio, pleaded no contest Jan. 29 to a second-degree misdemeanor count of failure to comply after entering a reinstatement payment plan with BWC. A judge sentenced Miller to 10 days in jail and fined him $750, then suspended both.
  • Larry West, owner of the Bluebird Restaurant in Norwood, paid all past-due installments and premiums on his BWC policy before pleading guilty Jan. 25 to a reduced charge of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor. He was sentenced to one day in jail, then credited with time served.
  • Douglas J. Krouskoupf of Zanesville pleaded guilty Jan. 9 to a first-degree misdemeanor count of workers’ compensation fraud in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. A judge sentenced Krouskoupf to 180 days in jail, which he suspended on the condition Krouskoupf pay BWC $7,924 in restitution.
  • Stephan L. Evans Sr, dba AB Shelby’s Auto Tractor and Trailer Repair in Akron, pleaded guilty Jan. 7 to one count of failure to comply, a second-degree misdemeanor, after BWC found him operating his business without workers’ compensation coverage. An Akron Municipal Court judge sentenced Evans to one year of obeying the law and ordered him to pay $324 in court costs.

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

Sneak a peek at OSC19!

By Julie Darby Martin, BWC Safety Congress Manager

We can’t wait to connect with attendees at our Ohio Safety Congress & Expo 2019 (OSC19)!

It’s now just three weeks away at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. So, we’ve put together a brief sneak peek of OSC19 for you.

As always, safety congress will have an incredible selection of educational sessions to choose from, with most offering free continuing education credits. And you’ll find exciting products and services from hundreds of exhibitors in the Expo Marketplace.

Other highlights include live demonstrations involving fire (simulated), chainsaws, electricity, pushing and pulling, and fire again (cooking).

OSC19’s educational sessions will cover topics that are making headlines every day, including sessions touching on various aspects of the opioid epidemic and its effects on the workplace. Other sessions look at how wearable bio-technology helps detect injury risks and provide a glimpse into the future from the head of our Division of Safety & Hygiene.

Once again, we’re offering a course track on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, that features topics such as the impact of the #MeToo Movement on the workplace and how diversity strengthens safety in the workplace.

These are just a few highlights of OSC19. Take a look at all that OSC19 has to offer and register today. We’ll see you soon!

Construction worker hammered with fraud conviction

Cleveland man reimburses BWC $24,000

A Cleveland construction worker who worked multiple jobs while collecting disability benefits from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation reimbursed the agency nearly $24,000 on Jan. 30 before pleading guilty to workers’ compensation fraud.

Marc. E. Pope, 50, paid BWC $23,793 in restitution before his guilty plea on two first-degree misdemeanor counts of workers’ compensation fraud in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

“We found Mr. Pope working as a laborer for several businesses while claiming to be disabled from work,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “When someone scams the system, they are really hurting injured workers who rely on us to help them recover from their injury and return to work.”

In other fraud-related news:

A Cincinnati-area restaurant owner who would not cooperate with BWC to reinstate his policy finally did so after a Hamilton County grand jury indicted him on a fourth-degree felony count of workers’ compensation fraud.

Larry West, owner of the Bluebird Restaurant in Norwood, paid all past-due installments and premiums on his BWC policy before pleading guilty Jan. 25 to a reduced charge of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor. He was sentenced to one day in jail, then credited with time served.

The owner of a pallet company in eastern Ohio was sentenced to two years of probation Jan. 29 for failing to carry workers’ compensation insurance on his business.

Kenneth Miller, owner of Grant Street Pallet Inc. in Lisbon, Ohio, pleaded no contest to a second-degree misdemeanor count of failure to comply after entering a reinstatement payment plan with BWC. A judge sentenced Miller to 10 days in jail and fined him $750, then suspended both.

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

Are your employees getting a good start on safety?

Did the new year bring new employees to your organization? Do you have a plan for introducing them or future new hires to your workplace safety efforts?

The best way to demonstrate safety as an organizational value to new hires or transferred employees is to provide a safety orientation right from the start. Doing so sets expectations for and provides a solid base for future safety performance.

You’re probably wondering what you should include in your safety orientation. The following are a few items to consider.

  • A review of your safety policy and rules
  • A review of specific safe work practices and procedures
  • Dress requirements
  • How to report injuries
  • How to seek first aid
  • How to report unsafe conditions, unsafe practices and near misses
  • How to respond during fire and emergency situations
  • Housekeeping standards
  • Discussion of specific work hazards
  • Use and care of personal protective equipment
  • Hazardous material identification and safe use (material safety data sheet)

These are just a few examples to get you started. You should tailor the orientation to your organization’s specific procedures and areas of focus.

Remember, the orientation is strictly the beginning of the safety process for employees. It’s critical to evaluate their knowledge and understanding of safety procedures on a continual basis. This includes regular training, for example:

  • Safety meetings.
  • Industry updates.
  • Focusing on specific safety issues.
  • Explanation and training when changes in work practices occur.

If you’re looking for additional resources to bolster your orientation and ongoing training efforts, our video library also has an extensive collection of workplace safety and health videos you can borrow or stream for free.

Getting your employees started on the right foot can help them achieve safety success early on and into the future.