Employers sing praises of safety council rebates

By Michelle Francisco, BWC Safety Council Program Manager

It pays to be an active member of your local safety council – literally.

Employers who are part of BWC’s Safety Council Rebate Program can earn up to a 4-percent annual rebate on their workers’ compensation premium by fulfilling certain attendance and performance goals.

For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, almost 5,000 Ohio employers fulfilled the eligibility requirements necessary to earn that rebate and received a combined $9.6 million dollars for their efforts.

I recently asked safety council sponsors with the highest employer rebate earnings what impact this savings has on their members and the community. Needless to say, they are very pleased!

Licking County Safety Council Manager Brittany Misner says, “Savings earned will allow our local employers the opportunity to invest in more efficient and safe equipment, workplace wellness programs and safety education/training.” Member Valerie Spanovich – human resources manager at Star Wipers –reports her company always takes away valuable information from the monthly meetings. She adds, “To be able to do that and earn a rebate is a great advantage for us.”

Michele Blaney, manager of the Capital Area Safety Council, knows many members have used their rebate or the scholarships their local program offers to improve their safety culture. Some examples include providing training they may not have thought could fit in the budget without the incentives, or bringing additional safety team members to safety council meetings to increase engagement.

Kathy Kellums, manager of the Cleveland Southwest Safety Council queried her members and received these positive responses:

AmeriMark Direct – The rebate is significant and fuels interest in remaining actively involved;

Quadax – The rebate allows them to send more of their employees to the meetings; being selected to attend is a valuable motivational tool for employees.

Greater Cleveland Safety Council Manager Tom Rabe states, “The rebate program has truly increased the number of active members who benefit from safety awareness and the monetary incentives are important to all organizations.”

“The impact on employers: I would say it is significant,” cites Black Swamp Safety Council Manager Mari Yoder.  “Area employers are struggling to meet their profit margins and to remain competitive.  Employee costs play a significant role and lost time due to health/ accidents are a major concern. These rebates often allow businesses the opportunity to invest in equipment and training to ensure workers can remain as productive as possible.”

safety council picShe concludes by saying, “Attendance at our meetings shows the importance of both the discounts received and the desire to stay educated to help keep workplaces safe and employees productive.”

This is the very reason BWC sponsors this one-of-a-kind program! See our safety councils listing to find information about a safety council near you.

Safety rocks and rolls at Cleveland-area safety council’s CEO event

By Michelle Francisco, BWC Safety Council Program Manager

rocknrollGiven the recent success of the Cavaliers and the Indians, Cleveland is suddenly known for its professional sports teams. But at the recent Cleveland Southwest Safety Council (CSSC) CEO event, Harley-Davidson motorcycles – and rock music – took center stage.

More than 180 CSSC members and their highest-ranking local officials gathered at the Rock-N-Roll City Harley-Davidson dealership, which opened just a year ago in Brook Park, to hear owner Mike Davis discuss his company philosophy and the importance it places on safety. Mike is the owner of four dealerships in Ohio, but he started his career in aeronautics, an industry equally dedicated to safety.

rocks-2The CSSC often selects a local business to host its CEO networking event, believing that members enjoy a non-traditional setting that provides a behind-the-scenes perspective of a company’s operation. Previous hosts have included the NASA Safety Center and Kaufman Container.

Many of the dealership’s 50+ employees mingled with guests, speaking proudly of their visibility in the community and popularity with travelers passing through Cleveland at nearby Hopkins airport.

rock4On the day of the event, visitors in town from Chicago for game two of the World Series stopped by the dealership to shop at one of Harley-Davidson’s newest state-of-the art dealerships.

Safety staff Gayle Luker and Nicole Lorenzo, from BWC’s Garfield Heights customer service office, mingled with attendees, touching base with existing customers and developing new leadership contacts.

Meanwhile, I took the opportunity to say a few words on behalf of the agency, reinforcing BWC’s commitment to creating a forum for safety education, reducing accidents and making Ohio a safer place to work.

Following the meeting, representatives from several employers approached me to express their appreciation for BWC’s safety efforts. Steve Hilton, the Health Safety & Environmental Manager of self-insuring ThyssenKrupp Materials NA (Ken-Mac Metals Division), is responsible for the company’s workers’ compensation in several states. He said he is most impressed with the no-added cost “pre-paid” services unique to Ohio. He lauded the recent air monitoring provided by local industrial hygienist Ron Kruchan and acknowledged the significant cost-savings it provides his company. Each year, ThyssenKrupp also invites safety managers from eight plants across the country to BWC’s annual Ohio Safety Congress & Expo in Columbus to capitalize on the education and certification credits it offers.

These are just some of the many benefits Ohio employers enjoy as part of their BWC workers’ compensation insurance coverage.

BWC sponsors 82 safety councils across the state to provide a forum for accident prevention, workers’ compensation and health & wellness information in local communities. The Berea, Brook Park and Middleburg Heights chambers of commerce co-sponsor the CSSC. They work together to provide valuable monthly occupational safety and health educational opportunities to more than 130 members.

For more information about the Cleveland Southwest Safety Council, visit their website.

Safety Council of the Year Awards: Stark County takes top award

By Michelle Gatchell, BWC Communications and
Michelle Francisco, BWC Safety Council Program Manager

On May 2, BWC held the annual Safety Council Leaders Conference in Columbus. Every safety council in the state was represented at the meeting, where ideas about program management, speakers, topics and how to reach more employers were shared.

Safety Council Mgr Mtg 2016

Managing a safety council is usually something added to a person’s regular job description and that is part of what makes those who serve in this role such an amazing group. They care about the employers and employees in their communities enough to go above and beyond in service to them.

BWC is the sponsor of the Ohio Safety Council Program, but it is the local sponsors, managers and steering committees that develop the monthly programs for their local businesses to benefit related to safety and wellness. To find out more about safety councils click here.

The ripple effect that safety councils create never stops. That ripple may someday save a life of one of your loved ones or friends. Important work they are doing when you think about it in terms of saving lives and ensuring employees can return home unharmed after a day’s work. BWC wants to thank those who manage and maintain safety councils and all those who are members. You are our ambassadors of safety and health in your community.

Last year brought Ohio two new safety councils, in Wood and Wyandot counties.

The first two safety councils were formed in 1931. They were the Greater Cleveland and Lorain County Safety Councils. The safety council program has benefitted Ohio workers for 85 years.

At the Safety Council Leaders Conference BWC presented the 2015 Safety Council of the Year awards. BWC judges selected eight councils from 24 finalists. There were four honorable mentions. Those recipients are:

The Safety Council of the Year fourth place honor goes to the West Central Ohio Safety Council.  (Pictured below: Deb Katzenmeyer, Craig Hohenbrink, Acting BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison and Amy Ricker.)

west central safety 2016

The third place award winner is Summit County Safety Council. (Pictured below: Bill Silver, Acting BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison and Sally Cox.)

Summit Co safety

The Safety Council of the Year second place award recipient is Ashtabula County Safety Council. (Pictured below: Andrew Kelner and Acting BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison.)

Ashtabula safety 2016

The number one safety council in the state for 2015, serving almost 300 members, is the Stark County Safety Council. (Pictured below: Michelle Francisco, Connie Cerny and Chris Zabel.)

Stark Co 2016 winner

Congratulations to all of these safety councils. You and the rest of Ohio’s safety councils are all to be commended for your excellent service to Ohio employers and workers.

If you’re not already a member of a safety council, we encourage you to look into one in your area. We list all the safety councils on our website here.