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.


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.


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.


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

We’re looking for a few great innovators

By Erik Harden, BWC Public Information Officer

Has your organization developed a new piece of equipment, tool or process to reduce risk to your workforce? Have you made changes to an existing method to improve safety and health in your workplace?  If so, you could earn a cash prize for your ingenuity by applying for a BWC Safety Innovation Award.

The application period for our 2018 Safety Innovation Awards is now open. We don’t consider whether the innovation is high-tech, low-tech or no-tech. We’re simply seeking solutions that reduce risk, create cost savings, and that have potential application to other workplaces, industries or operations.

If you are an Ohio employer – or know one – that has taken an innovative step to reduce risk of injury or illness, check out the award criteria and application.

We’re accepting applications until Sept. 30, 2017. Five finalists will receive cash awards, ranging from $1,000 to $6,000 and statewide recognition at the Ohio Safety Congress & Expo in Columbus March 7 to 9, 2018.

Last year’s finalists included innovations such as hydroblasting robots, a scaffold caddy and a pneumatically-operated cylinder clamp. You can check out descriptions and videos of all the finalists’ innovations here.

We hope seeing the past finalists and their ideas will inspire you to apply for the 2018 awards. If you have any questions about the program, email or call 1-800-644-6292.

We look forward to seeing your innovative approaches to eliminating workplace risks and hazards!

It’s here! Knowledge is key at OSC

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

In a previous blog post I said … better knowledge is the single common denominator for improving lives. It’s an adage – some might even call it a motto – which I believe in quite strongly.

Bringing knowledge to Ohio’s workforce, employers, safety professionals, and healthcare providers is also the driving force behind our annual Ohio Safety Congress & Expo, which opens today at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

Today through Friday we will welcome thousands of attendees who are seeking the know-how to help them make their workplaces safer and to protect the health and well-being of their workers. The goal of OSC17 is also to make them think of their own safety adages or mottos – their rules to live by so to speak.

We’re looking to have this conversation via hundreds of educational sessions and face-to-face interactions with visitors this week. Our hope is to make this the beginning of an ongoing dialog with employers to further our common goal of making Ohio’s workplaces the safest in the nation.

Attendees can also learn more about hundreds of cutting-edge products and services in the OSC17 Expo Marketplace. They may also find inspiration from the five employers showcasing their innovative solutions to safety issues in our Safety Innovation Awards section of the expo. In the middle of the Expo, you can find our BWC booth to answer all your safety, risk management, and workers’ compensation questions.

I see first-hand the planning and preparation that goes into this event every year by our staff as well as the commitment of our planning committees, guest speakers and expo vendors. I truly appreciate these efforts and the benefits they bring for our attendees.

While you’re at OSC17, take some time to explore, discover and share your experience on social media using hashtag #OSC17. Even more important, I hope you take the knowledge you gain at OSC17 back to your organization and use it to keep your colleagues and yourself safe and healthy at work and at home.

I hope you enjoy your experience!

Is your company the next great Ohio innovator?



By Bernie Silkowski, Director of Technical Services and Support, Division of Safety & Hygiene

Throughout the years Ohio has embodied the spirit of innovation.

Ohio pioneers such as Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers made the world rethink what was possible and put Ohio on the map as a hotbed of ingenuity.

More than a century later, Ohio’s employers still carry on this innovative spirit with newer and safer ways to make their products and provide services to the public. While it may not be as history-changing as inventing the light bulb or making powered flight a reality, Ohio employers continue to innovate today.

In keeping with this spirit of innovation, we created the Safety Innovation Awards program to recognize employers for their unique solutions that reduce the risk of workplace injuries and illnesses. In addition to recognition, we’re also awarding cash prizes ranging up to $6,000.

If your company or organization has come up with a great idea to protect your workforce, we want to hear from you. We have received many applications and we are expecting more. You have until Sept. 30 to apply, so don’t delay!

For more information on how to apply, click here. This pre-recorded webinar will help guide you through the application process. Submit any questions you may have to, or call 1-800-644-6292.

We look forward to learning about your innovation!

What does it mean to innovate?

SafetyInnovationsWebHeaderBy Bernie Silkowski, Director of Technical Services and Support, Division of Safety & Hygiene

What does it mean to innovate?  Is it to come up with a new idea or invent a new product or service?  Does modifying an existing process or applying it in a different way qualify as being innovative?

Actually, innovate means to go beyond conceiving or building the idea, invention, or modification by turning it into something that is useful, meaningful, and adds value.  In the case of safety and health, innovation means turning it into something that reduces either the likelihood of employees being injured, the severity of any potential injuries, or both.  That alone is reason to innovate.  The bonus is that safety innovations almost always have other benefits such as improvements in productivity, employee morale, and the bottom line.

BWC is looking for such workplace innovations that have made it safer for Ohio employees to work and earn a living.  The application period for BWC’s 2017 Safety Innovation Awards is now open.  As I said when writing about the 2016 awards, we don’t consider whether the innovation is high-tech, low-tech, or no-tech.  What matters are risk reduction, cost savings, and potential application to other workplaces, industries, or operations.

Just as success breeds success, innovation breeds innovation.  By sharing and recognizing safety innovations we inspire others to create and share their own.  With that in mind, check out the past winners to see if any inspire you or help you to realize you have an innovation worthy of submitting.

In the five years we’ve been making these awards, this is what we’ve learned about the typical characteristics of an award-winning safety innovation:

1. The problem often is identified by the employees.  Management listens.

2. Management taps the creativity of employees and involves them in developing and implementing a customized solution.

3. Management consults with a safety, ergonomics, or industrial hygiene professional to better understand the issue and ensure the innovation meets safety standards without creating new hazards.

4. The solution eliminates the hazard or reduces exposure to the hazard while making the overall work process more efficient.

5. A process is in place to ensure proper use and maintenance of the innovation, such as training and an inspection procedure.

6. The concept or technology is transferrable to other situations.

7. Everyone in the organization is proud of their innovation.

If you are an Ohio employer—or know one– that has taken an innovative step to reduce risk of injury or illness, check out the award criteria and application.

Applications will be accepted until September 30, 2016.  Five finalists will receive cash awards and state-wide recognition at the Ohio Safety Congress & Expo in Columbus March 8 to 10, 2017.

Innovation is one way Ohio continues to drive its injury rate down: fewer employees get injured, productivity increases, and workers’ compensation costs decrease.   It’s a win for employees.  It’s a win for employers.  It’s a win for Ohio!

Ohio hub of safety innovations

By Michael Rienerth, BWC Ergonomics Technical Advisor

Innovation is happening all around us!  Take for example this article about the Cleveland Clinic summarizing the top 10 medical innovations for 2016. Innovation can take many forms – including new equipment, processes, methods or technology and can involve anything from an incremental change to a revolutionary new way of doing things. It’s constantly changing our lives in many exciting ways – especially in our workplaces. Ohio’s business leaders know that innovation is essential for remaining competitive in the world today – and that includes keeping employees safe and healthy.

One way BWC is helping to foster innovativeness in the area of occupational injury/illness prevention is by sponsoring an annual Safety Innovations Competition.  The competition encourages employers to share innovations that have reduced safety, ergonomic and occupational health risks for employees.

Innovations banner

A panel of safety, ergonomics and industrial hygiene specialists from the BWC Division of Safety & Hygiene recently reviewed applications for the 2016 competition. The applications were scored on the following criteria: risk reduction, innovativeness, cost savings and potential impact.

We’re  pleased to announce the semi-finalists for the 2016 Safety Innovations Competition.

Ashland Inc. Dublin, Ohio Ergonomics Kaizen Process
AWP, Inc. Kent, Ohio Contractor Grade Bedslide
City of Cuyahoga Falls Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio Underground Cable Puller
Cooper Farms Feed & Animal Fort Recovery, Ohio Hog Loader
Midmark Corp Versailles, Ohio Automatic Guided Carts
Northcoast Recycling Specialist Wickliffe, Ohio Hydraulic Core Stripper
Nucor Steel Marion, Inc. Marion, Ohio R-Factor Rolling Process
Tri America Contractors, Inc. Wheelersburg, Ohio Pipe Fabrication Transporter Safety
Whitacre Greer Co. Alliance, Ohio Bin Area Material Feed Air Cannons

Congratulations to the semi-finalists! We’ll pay each of them a visit to further evaluate the innovations and then we’ll select five finalists that will attend the BWC Safety Congress and Expo March 9-11, 2016 at the Columbus Convention Center.

They’ll present their innovations to a panel of independent judges and awards will be presented during a ceremony on March 10.  Good luck to all the semi-finalists!

We want to hear about your innovations! Comment below and let us know how your business is being innovative to reduce risks.