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.

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!

Time’s running out to apply for our Safety Innovation Awards!

Attention Ohio employers! The application deadline for the 2018 Safety Innovation Awards is just around the corner. To spotlight innovative Ohio employers and their ingenuity, we’re once again seeking entries for our Safety Innovation Award Program.

This annual program awards cash prizes from $1,000 to $6,000 to employers that develop innovative solutions to reduce the risk of workplace injuries and illnesses to their employees.

Public and private employers may apply online on our website by Sept. 30.

Finalists will attend Ohio Safety Congress & Expo 2019 (OSC19) in Columbus on March 6-8, 2019, to present their innovations to a judges’ panel and the public.

OSC19 attendees will determine the recipient of The People’s Choice award. We will present the awards during a ceremony at Safety Congress. Learn more about last year’s winners in the video below.

In addition to cash prizes, finalists and their innovations are:

  • Spotlighted in the Safety Congress event guide seen by thousands of attendees.
  • Featured in an area entirely dedicated to them in the Expo Marketplace at OSC19.
  • Honored in a ceremony at Safety Congress.

We can’t wait to see the ingenious and creative innovation you’ve developed to keep your workers safer and healthier on the job. Apply today!

If you have any questions about the program, email or call us at 1-800-644-6292.

OSC19 Call for Presenters: Diversity and Inclusion Track

By Carolina Thatcher, BWC Inclusion and Diversity Director

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is accepting presentation proposals for the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) track of the nation’s largest occupational-focused safety and health event, March 6 to 8, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. Our Ohio Safety Congress & Expo (OSC19) helps businesses keep their workforce safe, healthy and productive. Guest presenters from various states and more than 200 exhibitors share their knowledge and resources at this free event.

The D&I track attracts managers, organizational leaders, human resources professionals, D&I practitioners, attorneys, employers, and others interested in D&I, talent management, and employee engagement strategies.

Session Format
OSC19 offers more than 200 educational presentations with continuing education credits for a variety of professions. For the D&I track, we are seeking:

  • One-hour educational sessions, panel discussions and live demonstrations.
  • Three-hour workshops.

Target Audience
Selection committees may give additional consideration to proposals that meet the recommendations below.

  • The topic conveys practical applications of D&I knowledge for human resources and legal professionals.
  • Session content is appropriate for individuals in the field who are looking to develop or implement strategies to create an organizational culture of diversity and inclusion in the private or public sector.

Session Policies
Proposals shall not consist of more than five speakers, including a moderator. For multiple speakers, each speaker must agree to the terms of this submission.

  1. We do not accept sales presentations. Your proposal must be educational and free from commercial content.
  2. Your material should be original; otherwise, you must reference sources.
  3. We do not provide honorarium for concurrent sessions. Speakers are responsible for accommodations and all travel-related expenses.

Selection Criteria
The selection committee will consider numerous factors including, but not limited to, the criteria below.

  • Proposals contain proper sentence structure and correct spelling.
  • Session content is clearly organized, current, practical or innovative.
  • Session descriptions are substantive and explain the relevancy of the topic.
  • Session skill level is appropriate for the topic and targeted audience.

Please write clear learning objectives to complete the sentence “Participants will be able to…” Use action verbs such as define, describe, distinguish, explain, identify, list, recall, recognize, select and summarize.

Selection Timeline
Aug. 10, 2018  Proposal submission deadline
Oct. 31, 2018   We notify selected submitters

If we select your proposal, we ask that you present the session at the designated date, time and location, and meet the deliverable deadlines we provide. The time-sensitive deliverables include, but are not limited to, the presenter logging on to the OSC19 Speaker Service Center, submitting audio-visual requirements and uploading session handout materials, etc. If emergency circumstances prevent you from fulfilling your commitment, we ask that you immediately notify us of the comparable subject-matter expert presenting on your behalf.

Ready to Submit?
If you have a topic for an OSC19 presentation that meets the above guidelines, we would love to hear from you. Please send your proposal via email to

We want you to present at OSC19!

By Julie Darby Martin, BWC Safety Congress Manager

Do you have knowledge to share that can keep workplaces safe and healthy? Are you good in front of a crowd?

If so, you could be a potential presenter for our Ohio Safety Congress & Expo 2019 (OSC19), the nation’s largest occupational-focused safety and health event. We’re now accepting presentation proposals for this multi-day event, scheduled for March 6 – 8, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio.

OSC19 will feature more than 200 educational sessions taught by experts from across the nation. Topics include:

  • Safety management;
  • Government and regulation;
  • Health, wellness and rehabilitation;
  • Emergency preparedness and response;
  • Workers’ compensation;
  • Driving and transportation;
  • Training and education;
  • Personal protective equipment;
  • And much more.

We are seeking one-hour educational sessions, panel discussions and live demonstrations as well as three-hour and six-hour workshops. Typical attendees include occupational safety and risk-management directors, workers’ compensation managers, health and wellness leaders, and individuals with an interest in occupational safety and health, wellness, and rehabilitation of injured workers.

We’re accepting applications until July 13. For application guidelines and to register, visit our call for presentations site. Want to get a glimpse of the event? Check out our OSC18 Twitter recap.

Ohio Safety Congress & Expo for 2018: Another complete success

By Jeff Baker, Program Administrator, BWC Special Investigations Department

As part of our Special Investigations Department (SID) mission to effectively and proactively prevent losses to the workers’ compensation system and to deter, detect, investigate and prosecute workers’ compensation fraud, we recognize the importance of educating and informing our stakeholders about how they may join us to combat fraud.

That’s why we annually schedule and conduct dozens of fraud presentations to groups of internal and external stakeholders throughout the state.

On March 7 and 8, at the Ohio Safety Congress & Expo 2018, Shawn Fox, a SID special agent in charge, facilitated a workers’ compensation fraud presentation and Josh Grappy, a forensic computer specialist with the SID digital forensics unit, conducted a session on commercial uses, regulations and best practices for drones.

This annual event was another complete success. To a packed house, we shared techniques used to combat workers’ compensation fraud and to investigate safety violations. In the photo above SID Special Agent in Charge Shawn Fox walks attendees of a BWC Safety Congress & Expo through the steps he and his staff take when investigating a fraud allegation.

SID employees consistently promote fraud prevention strategies to stakeholders by means of social media, articles in periodicals, and presentations, such as participation in the annual Ohio Safety Congress & Expo, safety councils, MCOs and community-based organizations. These efforts educate, inform and build understanding of the BWC’s overall mission “to protect Ohio’s workers and employers through the prevention, care and management of workplace injuries and illnesses at fair rates.”

Since July 1, 2017, SID has conducted 51 fraud presentations describing and demonstrating how we accomplish our mission. Our SID employees share examples of successful cases and furnish all attendees with the means to detect and report suspected fraud.

We welcome requests for fraud presentations from all interested organizations. To schedule a fraud presentation, simply e-mail your request to and we will promptly contact you to discuss your group’s event.

We hope you’ll contact us and look forward to meeting you soon!

For more details pertaining to our fraud prevention efforts, view our Annual Report here.

OSC18 – The postgame wrap-up

Thanks for joining the team!

By Erik Harden, BWC Public Information Officer

At Ohio Safety Congress & Expo (OSC18) last week, we made the most important addition to our safety team: You!

For three days, more than 8,000 employers, workers, safety and medical professionals found their winning safety and health game plan at OSC18 and our Medical and Health Symposium.

We were thrilled to see so many of you tweeting and sharing your #OSC18 experience on Twitter! Check out our Twitter recap and scroll back through our blog coverage from last week while you’re here on the site.

Remember, to visit the OSC18 website’s Attendee Service Center if you need to print course attendance certificates or access presentation materials from many of the classes.

Now let’s go for a repeat! We’ll hold #OSC19 March 6-8, 2019, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. We can’t wait to team up with you again next year!

The crowd arrives for registration and badge pick-up.

Record numbers fill the convention center.

BWC Administrator Sarah Morrison tips off OSC18. If you missed her opening remarks, which included a sneak peek of our safety campaign commercial, you can watch it on YouTube.

Attendees put the full-court press on the Expo Marketplace!

Innovative all-stars: We announced the 2018 Safety Innovations Award winners March 8. Navistar took first place!

Fan favorites: MPW Industrial Services took home second place and the People’s Choice award.

In third place, Terracon Consultants, Inc.

Ramco Electric Motors received the honorable mention award and $1,500. Congratulations to all!

Safety, health and wellness – it’s a team effort!

Final day at the Greater Columbus Convention Center

The Ohio Safety Congress and Expo continues today with a total of nineteen educational sessions scheduled. Among them, a full day of leading edge technology. From 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. vendors and researchers will come together for a discussion on wearable devices known as industrial exoskeletons, developed to prevent workplace injuries. Read more about them here.

Take the Short North escalator to the second floor and you’ll find a full day of sessions at the Medical & Health Symposium. Presentations run from 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Vendors will also be available to chat about their programs and services.

A list of all remaining OSC18 and Medical & Health Symposium sessions can be found here.

We’ll be live tweeting from the symposium, so stay tuned to hashtag #BWCmhs and share your experiences too!

Looking for a recap of yesterday’s activities? Take a look at Twitter hashtags #OSC18  and #BWCmhs  or follow us @OhioBWC.

Be a workplace safety all-star!

It’s day two of the Ohio Safety Congress & Expo! We’re glad to have you here in Columbus once again this year.

Even more important, we’re pleased that so many of you put safety first!

The Expo Marketplace was busy all day yesterday. If you missed anything, make sure to stop by today from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Classes ranging from wellness to emergency preparedness took place throughout the day. BWC Administrator Sarah Morrison kicked things off with a sneak peek at our new safety campaign commercial for a standing room only crowd.

Today’s general session will be held in the same location, the beautiful Battelle Grand Ballroom North in the Greater Columbus Convention Center. First, we’ll announce the winners of our Safety Innovation Awards followed by resilience strategist and team engagement expert, Linda Edgecombe.

Thanks to all of you who voted for your favorite innovation in the People’s Choice Award category.

We’ve seen a record number of you posting updates and photos on Twitter. Keep them coming! We look forward to experiencing Safety Congress from your perspective.

Remember to refer to your event guide or the mobile app for session descriptions and locations, expo marketplace map and passport to safety.

If you have questions about BWC programs or services, stop by our booth – #415!

Your winning game plan is at OSC18

By Abe Al-Tarawneh, Ph.D., Superintendent, BWC Division of Safety & Hygiene

Teamwork and planning are the keys to nearly every successful endeavor. This includes making Ohio’s workplaces safer and more productive.

This year’s Ohio Safety Congress & Expo (OSC18) has the resources all Ohio employers need to strengthen their safety team, from frontline workers to upper management. It also shows attendees how to draw up a safety game plan to cut costs and, more important, to protect their workforce.

OSC18 – which tips off today at the Greater Columbus Convention Center – is expected to host more than 8,000 attendees and will feature hundreds of educational sessions taught by safety experts from across the U.S., Canada and Switzerland. It also boasts a lively Expo Marketplace with more than 200 vendors offering the latest in cutting-edge products and services.

While visiting the Expo Marketplace, stop by the Safety Innovation Awards section and vote for your favorite of four finalists for this year’s awards. Then check out the exoskeleton display to see how workplace technology is making the leap from science fiction to reality. We also invite you to visit our BWC booth to learn about our programs including our new Better You, Better Ohio!™ health and wellness program for the workforce.

Safety – It’s a team effort is the theme of OSC18. And it truly takes a team to put together this annual event – now the largest regional safety conference in the country. From planning committees and guest speakers to the expo vendors and BWC staff, I truly appreciate the excellent work of this team in planning and executing this world-class event.

I hope you enjoy your experience while you’re at OSC18. I also hope you take the knowledge you’ve gained back to your workplace to bolster your safety teams and develop a winning game plan to keep all your workers safe and healthy on the job.