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OhioBWC - Basics: (Policy library) - File

Division of Safety and Hygiene Policy

 

Mine Safety Grant Program

 

Policy effective July 1, 2006

 

 

Purpose/Benefits

·        Provide $5M in safety grant monies for employers actively enrolled in the Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis Fund (commonly called the Black Lung Fund).

·        Assist employers in the coal mining industry in purchasing equipment to substantially reduce or eliminate the potential for workplace respiratory illnesses and fatalities from coal dust (pneumoconiosis).

·        The money for the Mine Safety Grants Program comes from the premiums paid by the participating employers into the Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis Fund.

 

Note: The Mine Safety Grants Program is an extension/modification of BWC’s general industry Safety Intervention Grants Program.  Unless otherwise specified in the Mine Safety Grants Program, all safety grant requirements, eligibility, performance criteria, procedures, etc. applicable to BWC’s general industry Safety Intervention Grants Program apply to this program’s participants.

 

The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) will make safety grants available to employers actively enrolled in the Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis Fund, commonly called the Black Lung Fund, for the purchase of equipment to substantially reduce or eliminate the potential for employee workplace respiratory illnesses and fatalities from coal dust.  Each BWC policy number actively enrolled in the Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis Fund is eligible to receive multiple grants as long as the total amount of all grants provided under the Mine Safety Grants Program for any one BWC policy number does not exceed $135,000.

 

The money for the Mine Safety Grants comes from the premiums paid by the participating employers into the Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis Fund.  Note:  This is not a matching grant program like the general industry Safety Intervention Grant program.  The employer does not have to invest any matching funds in order to receive the Mine Safety Grant money from BWC.

 

Eligibility: To be eligible for this program, an employer must meet the following criteria:

·        The employer must be an active employer participating in the Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis Fund effective January 1, 2006.

·        The employer must have active Ohio workers’ compensation coverage and be current on any and all undisputed premiums, administrative assessments, fines or monies otherwise due to any fund administered by BWC.

·        The employer must demonstrate the need for the safety intervention.  Note:  Unlike the general industry Safety Intervention Grants Program, the employer is not required to have any allowed claims in the past two years associated with the proposed intervention.  Demonstration of need is provided through the completion of the grant application.  The employer is required to identify the problem, and then describe their proposed solution to the problem.  A grant pre-assessment by a BWC field consultant and an Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) mine inspector will verify the need and effectiveness of the proposed intervention.

·        The employer must agree that no jobs will be eliminated due to the proposed safety intervention.

 

Purchase/Equipment Criteria:  Employers are required to use the grant money to purchase equipment to substantially reduce or eliminate the potential for workplace respiratory illnesses or fatalities from coal dust to prevent coal miner’s pneumoconiosis.

 

Equipment must be purchased within three months after the date on the disbursement check.  Purchase and/or receipt of equipment cannot take place prior to the disbursement of grant funds.  The grant recipient may submit a request for more time to the review board.  Upon approval and purchase of equipment, the employer will provide documentation on the use of the funds including submission of original paid itemized invoices, proof of payment, and cancelled checks that demonstrate all funds issued by BWC were spent and applied toward the purchase of approved equipment.

 

Potential equipment could include, but is not limited to:

·        Respiratory protection, such as air purifying respirators, supplied air respirators, and self-contained respirators.  All respiratory equipment must be National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) approved.

·        Dust control technology, such as dust collectors and water spray equipment

·        Ventilation (both local and dilution)

·        Scrubbers mounted on machines

·        Technology or equipment to isolate the miner from the dust source

 

Employers are required to provide BWC with information on the effectiveness of the safety intervention.

 

Customers Impacted

Internal: Employer Management field staff (Industrial Hygienists) will be involved with assisting employers identifying and selecting appropriate equipment.

External: Employers participating in the Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis Fund effective January 1, 2006.

 

Scenario 1:

An employer has received a grant in the amount of $50,000 to purchase supplied air respirators. Eleven months later they submit another application for coal dust control equipment in the amount of $42,000.

 

Response

This is acceptable.  A single policy number can have multiple grants as long as the total of all grants does not exceed $135,000.

 

 

Scenario 2:

An active employer in the Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis Fund submits an application for a Mine Safety Grant to purchase hoisting equipment to eliminate the potential for back injuries.

 

Response

This application does not meet the requirements for this program.  Although the employer is eligible to apply for a Mine Safety Grant, the equipment requested does not meet the requirement to substantially reduce or eliminate the potential for workplace respiratory illnesses or fatalities from coal dust.

 

 

Scenario 3:

An employer obtains a grant to purchase a ventilation system to control coal dust exposure to miners.  Upon subsequent visits by a BWC Safety Consultant, it is determined that the ventilation system was actually installed two weeks prior to the disbursement of funds.

 

Response

The grant money may not be used retroactively for purchase of equipment that has previously occurred.  If the purchase is made prior to the disbursement date of the check, the purchase will be considered retroactive and the grant is invalid.  The employer must return this grant money to BWC.

 

 

Scenario 4:

BWC receives an application from an employer for a safety grant.  The employer has active BWC coverage but owes BWC $1,327 for a recent Premium Audit.  Employer is requesting $5,000 for purchase of two mobile scrubbing units.

 

Response

The policy states that the employer must maintain active and current workers’ compensation coverage, with no outstanding balances due BWC.  The application would be denied.  Once the back premiums are paid, the employer may resubmit an application.

 

 

Scenario 5:

An active employer in the Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis Fund submits an application for a Mine Safety Grant to purchase respirators and ventilation equipment to control employee exposures to dust when drilling through rock formations.

 

Response

Unless there is exposure to coal dust during this operation, this application is denied.  Equipment to control other forms of dust (such as silica) is not within the scope of this program.  Only equipment to control exposure to coal dust is authorized.


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