BWC honors top safety councils of 2018

By Michelle Francisco, BWC Safety Council Program Manager

Our efforts to protect Ohio’s workforce would not be the same without our partnership with each of the safety councils throughout the state. By offering training and other safety and health resources, they have a profound effect on the quality of life in their communities.

Each May, Ohio’s safety council sponsors and leaders meet to get the latest news, network and share best practices in safety council program management. At this annual event, we honor the highest achieving programs in the state with our Safety Council of the Year Awards.

BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud was there to present the 2018 awards to all the winners.

First place went to the Mid-Ohio Valley Safety Council sponsored by the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Safety Council serves more than 130 members and has a 90-percent attendance average. The council, the second-place award winner for 2017, invested all its award money by introducing a grant program allowing members to apply for grants for workplace safety initiatives. The council also awards a $500 scholarship for students pursuing a career in nursing. Additionally, it offered community-based education on the opioid epidemic.

Stark County Safety Council, sponsored by the Canton Area Chamber of Commerce, took home the second-place award.

In third place was the Summit County Safety Council.

Taking fourth place was the Ross County Safety Council sponsored by the Chillicothe-Ross Chamber of Commerce.

Five additional safety councils earned an honorable mention, including the:

Congratulations to the 2018 Safety Council of the Year award recipients! And thanks to all the Ohio safety councils for partnering with us to make Ohio’s workplaces safer and healthier.

Visit bwc.ohio.gov for more information about the Safety Council Program.

Ohio safety councils gave when others needed it most

By Erik Harden, BWC Public Information Officer

With Thanksgiving later this week, we’re officially entering the season of giving. However, for a group of Ohio safety councils and their members, the giving spirit arrived early this year.

In August and September, three powerful hurricanes (Harvey, Irma and Maria) ravaged the U.S. mainland as well as several U.S. territories in the Caribbean. The storms left horrific destruction, flooding and loss of life in their wake.

People from all over the country stepped up to donate their time, money and expertise to help the victims of the storms. Several Ohio safety councils and their members were no exception.

On the same date in late August, two safety councils (the Cleveland Southwest and Miami County safety councils) contacted BWC Safety Council Program Manager Michelle Francisco about a statewide initiative to raise money for Hurricane Harvey relief among all Ohio safety councils.

After receiving BWC’s approval, Cleveland Southwest Safety Council Administrator Kathy Kellums and Miami County Safety Council Program Director Jessica Stein sent a joint fundraising appeal to all 83 Ohio safety councils. “We felt this was a way to say Ohio cares,” said Kellums.

With fundraising already under way for Harvey relief, hurricanes Irma and Maria hit several Caribbean islands with a vengeance, with Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands taking the brunt of the storms. In the aftermath of now three devastating storms, the fundraising focus shifted to a larger relief effort. The safety councils decided to donate any funds raised to the Cleveland Salvation Army’s hurricane relief fund.

One Cleveland Southwest Safety Council member, Quadax, Inc., held an employee charity drive, raising $1,694 in employee contributions, and another company from the same safety council donated $500. In the end, the Cleveland Southwest Safety Council, led the way with more than $4,000 in donations. Overall, more than a dozen safety councils and their members collected $8,770.

On Oct. 31, Kellums and Stein delivered the donations to the Cleveland Salvation Army for its relief work in the Caribbean. The safety councils’ donations made it possible for disaster workers to provide up to 15,000 meals each day to residents of St. John, Virgin Islands.

“As BWC’s safety council program manager, I’d like to give thanks to all of Ohio’s safety councils for making our state a safer place to live and work,” said Francisco. “And for going above and beyond when fellow citizens desperately need help.”

Safety council’s busy spring season!

By Michelle Francisco, BWC Safety Council Program Manager

The spring of each year is always a busy season for Ohio’s safety council programs, and this year was no exception.

Ohio’s 82 safety councils collect semi-annual accident statistics from members to recognize them for their accomplishments in safety.

Certificates of recognition are then presented at monthly safety council meetings in March, April and May. The Mid-Ohio Valley Safety Council is pictured above.

BWC presented more than 5,000 certificates statewide to recognize employers for their efforts in preventing occupational injuries. Employers can earn one of four awards:

Group – presented to the company with the lowest incident rate in its type of work in the local community;

100% – presented to any company that works the entire year without an incident resulting in a day or more away from work;

Achievement – presented to any company that reduces its incident rate by at least 25 percent from one year to the next;

Special – presented to any company that works over six months and over 500,000 hours without an incident resulting in a day or more from work.

At the Logan County Area Safety Council meeting, I presented multiple awards to representatives of Honda Transmission Manufacturing.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Members of the Columbiana Area Safety Council pose with their certificates below.

The recognition certificates presented reflect countless hours of effort and dedication to creating and maintaining safe workplaces in Ohio. All Ohio employers enrolled and actively participating in an Ohio safety council are to be commended for their efforts.

Each year on the first Monday in May, Ohio’s safety council sponsors and leaders meet in Central Ohio to hear program updates, network with one another and share best practices in safety council program management.


At this year’s conference, BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison (above) and Division of Safety & Hygiene Superintendent Abe Tarawneh (left) both shared timely updates on the importance of safety in managing workers’ compensation costs and BWC’s continuing emphasis and investment in safety in Ohio.

One of the most popular activities of each year’s conference is the speed networking, which allows participants to meet a variety of representatives from other safety councils to discuss trends, challenges and solutions for creating and maintaining successful safety council programs.

Finally, at each year’s Safety Council Leaders Conference, the four safety councils are recognized as the highest achieving programs in the state with Safety Council of the Year awards.

Administrator Morrison presented the Grand Award for first place to the Summit County Safety Council.

Ross County Safety Council, sponsored by the Chillicothe-Ross Chamber of Commerce, took home the second place award.

In third place was the Mid-Ohio Valley Safety Council, sponsored by the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce. 

Earning the fourth place award was the Ashtabula County Safety Council. (Left)  

Five additional safety councils earned an honorable mention, including:

Stark County Safety Council, Portage County Safety Council, Orrville Area Safety Council, Ottawa County Safety Council and Sandusky County Safety Council.

Responsible for the programming for this year’s conference were committee members Briana Hood, Dessie Rogers, Mike Thompson, and Deb Katzenmeyer.

Get involved in the excitement of the Ohio Safety Council program and enroll today!

Ottawa County Safety Council members share their OSC17 experience

By Michelle Francisco, BWC Safety Council Program Manager

Two-hundred and forty miles total. Four hours roundtrip. Ottawa County Ohio employers didn’t let that keep them from capitalizing on the nation’s largest regional occupational safety and health conference. Several employers from Ohio’s north shore descended on Columbus a few weeks ago to find valuable information and resources at BWC’s Ohio Safety Conference & Expo 2017 (OSC17).

It’s no surprise that so many of these employers are also members of the Ottawa County Safety Council. That’s because Jessica Kowalski, manager of the safety council, keeps her membership engaged and focused on workplace safety.

Jessica works tirelessly to promote BWC programs and services through social media and more traditional means of communication, and we appreciate her partnering with us.

After OSC17, she surveyed members of the Ottawa County Safety Council to get feedback on their experience at this year’s event. Below are some of their thoughts.

Dave Barth of Bay Point Resort & Marina attended several sessions on the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s new reporting guidelines and found sessions to enhance his understanding of job assessments and their benefits. In the Expo Marketplace, he met several vendors he intends to contact about future business.

Julia Catlett of Magruder Hospital applauded BWC for providing classes that are educational from a variety of different perspectives, ranging from safety officers to human resources. She appreciates that sessions provide credit toward her certifications and give her useful information to implement in everyday processes.

Michelle Ish, Ottawa County HR Director, attended her 13th safety congress this year. She appreciates seeing other industry professionals and knows many are repeat attendees, adding, “It’s nice to network on such a large scale!”

Evan Viery of Signature Label found OSC17 to be an excellent summarization of where safety has gone in recent years and where it intends to go. He also felt it was a great opportunity to meet people from other companies and to see what fellow Ohio companies are doing to keep an edge.  “Every time I attend I am more pleased with OSC,” he says.

Tim Gerkensmeyer of Martin Industries tries to attend the Ohio Safety Congress & Expo as much as he can. He said he enjoys catching up with people who he doesn’t see often, adding that he met several new people from his own county.

Adam Holmes of The Ashley Group praised the Ohio Workers’ Compensation Medical & Health Symposium. He attended the symposium for the first time, saying it covered topics related to almost every industry, and it promoted open conversation and sharing of ideas among professionals from several different backgrounds. He says, “The chance to hear first-hand from a variety of employer organizations regarding the challenges they face helps me improve as a consultant to my clients. “That in itself is invaluable and reason alone to make the trip again next year!”

No matter the distance to Columbus, employers from all over the state have many reasons to attend the Ohio Safety Congress & Expo. Make your plans to attend in 2018, March 7-9, in Columbus.