OhioBWC - Basics: (Policy library) - File

 

Policy Name:

Safety Intervention Grants Program

Policy #:

SP-19-01

Code/Rule Reference

ORC 4121.37 and OAC 4123-17-56.

Effective Date:

August 1, 2022

Origin:

Division of Safety & Hygiene (DSH)

Supersedes:

All policies and procedures regarding the Safety Intervention Grant Program that predate the effective date of this policy.

History:

Revised: August 1, 2022; December 31, 2019; January 1, 2018, September 22, 2017; November 10, 2015; December 7, 2010; and October 2010. New: June 22, 2007.

Review Date:

August 1, 2027

 

 

I.      Policy Purpose

 

BWC uses the Safety Intervention Grants (SIG) Program to partner with Ohio employers to measure the effectiveness of workplace safety interventions. The program is available to eligible Ohio employers who wish to purchase equipment to substantially reduce or eliminate injuries or illnesses associated with a particular task or operation. The program is designed to establish safety intervention best practices for accident and injury prevention.

 

II.    Applicability

 

This policy applies to BWC Division of Safety & Hygiene (DSH), employers and their authorized representatives.

 

III.   Definitions

A.    Eligibility cycle: The eligibility cycle applies to previous grant recipients who may be eligible to receive up to $40,000 per eligibility cycle. The eligibility cycle is three years.  The eligibility cycle start date is determined by the date of the earliest grant warrant.

B.    Fast track grants: Applications for specific equipment that has been evaluated and proven to reduce risk and is likely to have a significant impact on eliminating future injuries.

C.   Grant Agreement: A one-year contract for matching funds for safety equipment from the BWC to an employer.  The one-year period begins the date the purchased equipment is implemented and ends the date the employer’s one-year case study has been received and approved, in writing, by BWC.

D.   Post assessment: An evaluation of the risk associated with a task after the equipment has been implemented. The type of assessment is based on the risk being addressed by the equipment implemented. The assessment may include safety, ergonomic, or industrial hygiene evaluations.

E.    Post report: A review of the newly purchased and implemented equipment by a BWC representative.  The report shall include a description of the equipment to include the make, model, serial number, and color if applicable.

F.    Pre-assessment: An evaluation of risk hazards associated with the task to be addressed by the equipment. The type of assessment is based on the risk addressed by the grant application. The pre-assessment may include safety, ergonomic or industrial hygiene evaluations.

G.   Pre-report: An application checklist used to observe and evaluate the task and area where the equipment will be used.

H.   Retroactive purchases: Equipment purchased prior to approval from BWC for the safety intervention, which includes ordered equipment, paid equipment, and received paid equipment.

I.      Unapproved purchases: Items outside the scope of the SIG Program including but not limited to, equipment intended to meet minimum OSHA compliance, routine equipment replacement, and interventions outside the program’s injury prevention objectives.

IV.  Policy

A.    Eligibility criteria:

1.    At the time of application, the employer must:

a.    Be a state fund private employer, a public employer taxing district, a marine industry fund employer, or a coal workers’ pneumoconiosis fund employer.

b.    Have active Ohio workers’ compensation coverage. The employer must maintain continuous active state fund coverage while participating in the program. Marine industry fund and coal workers’ pneumoconiosis fund employers must also have active coverage under their respective fund effective January 1, 2006.

c.     Not have more than forty (40) days of cumulative lapses in workers’ compensation coverage within the prior twelve (12) months.

d.    Be current with respect to all payments due BWC as defined in OAC 4123-17-14.

e.    Provide evidence of at least a one-year business history.

2.    The following employers are not eligible:

a.    Self-insuring employers;

b.    State agencies;

c.     State universities;

d.    Employers paying the minimum administrative charge as set forth in OAC 4123-17-26;

e.    State fund employers who have elective coverage only; and

f.      Marine industry fund and coal workers’ pneumoconiosis fund employers who did not have active coverage under their respective fund effective January 1, 2006.

3.    The employer must demonstrate the need for a safety intervention by describing the significance of the problem and the effectiveness of the proposed solution.

4.    The employer must provide one year of baseline data, excluding temporary staff unless temporary staff are covered under the BWC policy applying for the grant, including:

a.    Number of employees directly affected by the proposed intervention;

b.    The BWC claim numbers for claims filed by the population during the period; and

c.     If the employer tests equipment, and applies for grant funds to purchase the equipment, the baseline data must be for the one-year period prior to the test period.

5.    Employers may receive up to $40,000 in grant funds per eligibility cycle.

6.    Other eligibility considerations.

a.    A successor employer may apply for a safety grant based on a predecessor employer meeting the criteria in sections IV.A.3 and IV.A.4 above. The successor employer must meet the eligibility criteria set forth in sections IV.A.1.a through IV.A.1.d.

b.    Alternate Employer Organization (AEO) or Professional Employer Organization (PEO).

i.      An AEO or a PEO is eligible to apply for a grant under its own policy number. The AEO or PEO can only use grant funds for operations owned or operated by it and not for any client employer.

ii.     A state fund employer in a client relationship with an AEO or a PEO is eligible to apply for a grant if the employer can demonstrate:

a)    The task addressed by the grant-funded equipment is for employees covered under the client employer’s BWC policy; and

b)    The employer will continue to cover the employees affected by the intervention under the client employer’s BWC policy during participation in the program.

c.     Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis fund employers may use the grant fund to purchase equipment only to prevent coal workers’ pneumoconiosis.

B.    Pre-application steps.

1.    Employers must contact the local BWC customer service office to schedule an assessment by a BWC representative. For coal workers’ pneumoconiosis fund employers, the assessment must be scheduled with a mine safety inspector from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

2.    The employer must access the online application on BWC’s web site.

3.    The employer must allow BWC staff access to the work site to perform a pre-report and pre-assessment of the operation and area of concern. If requested, the employer must provide BWC staff with the following data for the operation of concern:

a.    Injury statistics, associated claim numbers, and costs for the past one year;

b.    Production and quality data;

c.     Absenteeism and turnover rates;

d.    Number of full-time and part-time employees;

e.    Hours worked by all employees;

f.      Job safety analysis or work procedures; and

g.    Pictures or video.

4.    BWC staff may conduct a five-year claims history review.

5.    The employer must verify the equipment it plans to implement is not on BWC’s unapproved items list.

6.    The employer must obtain detailed price quote(s) from the equipment vendor. The quote must be specifically for the employer applying for the grant and must list all items to be purchased. The price quote must include a contact name and contact phone number from the equipment vendor.  BWC highly recommends obtaining a quote of one hundred twenty (120) days or longer.

C.   Application requirements.

1.    The employer must submit all sections of the application online including the budget and agreement.

2.    Completing the budget page.

a.    The employer must provide equipment price quotes. The quotes must include the vendor’s name, address, and date of the quote. The quote must include the employer’s information, including company location.

b.    All items and costs associated with the grant request must be listed on the budget page. The budget page and quote detail must match.

c.     Price quotes must be submitted for all items requested on the budget page. Each item description and dollar amount must match the vendor quote.

d.    Freight and tax must be included in the budget and in the price quotes, even if estimated, to be considered as part of the grant request.

e.    All budget line items must multiply across correctly, and the sum of the total column must be correct.

f.      The employer must disclose and explain any ownership, partnership, or other affiliation with the equipment vendor.

3.    A safety grant is a one-year agreement between the employer and BWC.  The employer agrees the signer of the agreement, or a successor, will have the authority and responsibility to ensure the employer will fulfill its obligations to BWC for one year after implementation of the intervention.

4.    The state of Ohio considers a grant recipient a supplier. This means the employer must obtain a supplier ID number through the Ohio Shared Services website, then complete and send the following forms to Ohio Shared Services:

a.    Request for Taxpayer Identification Number & Certification (W-9 via the Supplier Portal).

b.    Authorization Agreement for Direct Deposit of EFT Payments (OBM-4310-Rev.11/1/2011 via the Supplier Portal).

5.    The employer must be current on receipt documentation and required reports including the one-year case study for all in-program grants at the time the employer submits a new grant application. BWC will not review the new application until any delinquent documentation is received and accepted by the safety grant department. BWC will hold the grant application for a period of forty-five (45) days. Failure to supply delinquent documentation within this time period will result in BWC dismissing the grant application to the employer.

6.    The employer may only apply for a safety intervention grant related to a manual classification for which payroll is reported.

7.    There are no item quantity limitations, however the employer must adequately justify the need for the quantity requested.

8.    The employer must explain any prior rentals or testing of the requested equipment on the application.

9.    The employer must include any type of discount received on the price quote and budget page. BWC will determine the employer’s match after the discount has been removed from the project cost.

10.  The employer may obtain a loan through a third-party lender for its portion of the grant match if the employer:

a.    indicates the intent to finance its portion of the project on the budget page of the grant application;

b.    applies the BWC grant funds directly to the purchase of the equipment; and

c.     provides BWC with a copy of the loan agreement.

11.  For all other financing arrangements, the employer must contact a BWC grant coordinator for prior approval.

D.   BWC evaluation of application.

1.    BWC will consider the employer’s application complete if the following items are received:

a.    The completed online application;

b.    The Statement of Agreement with electronic signatures;

c.     The Budget page with electronic signatures and corresponding vendor quotes;

d.    The pre-report and pre-assessments from the BWC representative; and

e.    Additional information as requested by BWC including pictures, videos, and equipment brochures.

2.    BWC will hold incomplete grant applications for a period of forty-five (45) days. Failure to supply the required information within this time period will result in BWC dismissing the grant application from consideration.

3.    The employer’s completed application will be reviewed by the Review Committee. Fast track grants are reviewed by a member of the Review Committee and either the Superintendent of DSH or their designee.

a.    Each reviewer will independently evaluate and score the employer’s application.

b.    The Review Committee recommends by consensus either approval or denial of the application to the Superintendent of DSH, or their designee, using criteria established by the Superintendent of DSH.

4.    Consideration is given to the research value of the safety equipment

5.    The employer’s application may be denied for equipment outside the scope of the program.

6.    BWC will compare the number of affected employees with reported payroll data. BWC will not approve a grant if the reported payroll divided by the number of employees does not reflect the employer’s workers are earning wages at the State of Ohio minimum wage in effect during the payroll reporting period(s) used.

7.    BWC requests grant funds for approved applications through the Department of Administrative Services.  Employers can expect to receive funds approximately two to eight weeks after approval of the application.

E.    Employer requirements after the awarding of grant funds.

1.    The employer must complete purchases within ninety (90) days of receipt of the grant award.

2.    BWC may allow additional time to purchase equipment, up to a maximum of ninety (90) days, upon the employer’s request. The request must be made within the initial ninety (90) day period. Extenuating circumstances warranting an extension may include, but are not limited to:

a.    Lack of vendor cooperation;

b.    Equipment not working as originally planned;

c.     Difficulties incurred during removal or relocation of old equipment; or

d.    Problems experienced with the fabrication or installation of new equipment.

3.    All requests for an extension are to be formally requested within the BWC Grant Management Portal, providing a detailed description of what has transpired and why the employer has not met the agreed upon obligation to the grant program. Requests will be reviewed and approved by BWC.

4.    The employer must provide BWC with the following items within one hundred twenty (120) days of receipt of the grant award:

a.    Approved grant application budget page;

b.    Itemized invoice(s) pertaining to all approved equipment purchases showing

i.      the invoice demonstrates that the approved equipment purchases were made, and

ii.     a description of the equipment including the make, model, color, and serial number of the equipment when applicable;

c.     Proof of employer matching payment; and

d.    Copies of all bank cleared checks or online bank statements that demonstrate the employer paid in full all invoices associated with the equipment.

i.      Check copies must include the front and back of the check.

ii.     These checks or online bank statements must include all BWC and employer matching contributions.

5.    BWC will reconcile the employer’s grant application and budget to the expenditure documentation. If there is any discrepancy in the information provided, BWC may request additional documentation to complete the reconciliation.

6.    The employer must reimburse BWC for all unused funds. Any unused portion of the grant will be billed to the employer. Failure to pay may result in administrative, civil, or criminal penalties.

7.    The employer must use the grant funds in the intended manner. The employer may face administrative, civil, or criminal penalties should the funds be misappropriated.

8.    The employer must request prior approval from BWC, if the employer makes any changes to the equipment during implementation. The request must be in writing as an addendum to the application. The employer must provide BWC an amended budget and itemized expense report.

9.    The employer must contact the BWC representative to observe the equipment and complete a Post Report and Post Assessments.  The make, model, color, and serial number of the equipment will be verified and entered in the BWC database.

F.    Operation of program.

1.    The program is subject to funding each fiscal year and may be discontinued or suspended at any time.

2.    BWC reserves the right to approve or deny any application based upon program needs or equipment effectiveness.

3.    An employer is eligible for a three-to-one matching grant up to a maximum grant award of $40,000 for each eligibility cycle. This means BWC gives $3 for every $1 the employer contributes.

4.    The employer may only use grant funds to purchase ergonomic, safety, or industrial hygiene equipment.

5.    The employer must agree:

a.    To keep purchased equipment maintained and in good working order for the one-year agreement period beginning the date of implementation;

b.    To use the equipment in the employer’s operation only and not to loan, rent, or lease the equipment to any other entity for the one-year period beginning the date of implementation;

c.     Not to sell, transfer, or otherwise dispose of purchased equipment for the one-year period beginning the date of implementation; and

d.    To submit a one-year case study report to BWC one year after the date of implementation.

i.      The one-year case study must be submitted within thirty (30) days of the one-year reporting period.

ii.     The employer may request assistance from a BWC representative.

iii.    The employer must complete and submit the one-year case study online through a link provided on BWC’s web page.

iv.   BWC will require an employer who fails to adhere to the reporting requirement to reimburse the full amount of the grant.

6.    BWC will not approve, and the employer may not use, grant funds for any of the following:

a.    Testing;

b.    External consultant fees;

c.     Retroactive purchases;

d.    Unapproved items purchases;

e.    Routine replacement equipment;

f.      Rented or leased equipment; or

g.    Salaries, wages, labor and the cost of preparing the application.

7.    The employer must continue to cover the employees affected by the intervention under its BWC policy.

8.    The employer must agree not to eliminate jobs or reduce employment due to the intervention.

9.    The employer must allow BWC staff access to the work site both before and after the intervention.

10.  The employer must allow BWC to publish safety intervention grant results including, but not limited to, data, videos, specifications, and/or photos for the purposes of illustrating, educating, and training employers and employees.

11.  A compliance audit may be initiated by BWC up to three (3) years after the Grant Agreement completion date.  The employer shall retain financial and statistical records, supporting documents, records pertaining to property acquired with Grant Agreement funds, and all other records related to this Grant Agreement, for a period of three years after the expiration or termination date of the Grant Agreement.  The three-year period begins with the date the employer’s final report has been approved in writing by BWC.  If any litigation, claim, or audit is initiated before the expiration of the three-year period, all records and supporting documents shall be retained until such litigation, claims, and audit findings are resolved.                                                                                  

12.  BWC will issue the employer an IRS 1099 for BWC paid grant funds.

13.  BWC is required to post the names of grant recipients, the items approved for purchase with grant funds, and the amount of the awards on the BWC website. This requirement is mandated by ORC 125.112(F).

14.  When an employer holding an active safety grant merges, or combines with another employer, the grant remains valid. The successor employer must continue to provide the required reports to BWC for the duration of the one-year reporting period.

a.    The predecessor employer bears sole responsibility to notify the successor employer of the obligations under the SIG program.

b.    If the successor employer fails to comply with the reporting provisions, BWC will bill the successor employer for previously awarded grant funds.

c.     A successor employer is eligible to apply for safety grants under this policy.

G.   Disqualification from the program.

1.    BWC may disqualify an employer from the Safety Intervention Grants Program who fails to meet all eligibility, application, or program participation requirements.

2.    If an employer moves out of state or otherwise closes its business after receiving a grant, but before completing the one year of required reporting, BWC may disqualify the employer as of the date of the move or closure.

3.    Disqualification will result in the termination of BWC’s obligations under this policy.

4.    BWC reserves the right to recover grant funds from disqualified employers by one or more of the following methods:

a.    Billing the employer for the grant money received.

b.    Forwarding to the Ohio Attorney General for collection, set off, recoupment, or other legal remedy.

H.   Resolution of complaints.

1.    An employer may file a complaint due to BWC’s decision including, but not limited to, a finding the employer did not meet eligibility requirements for the program. The complaint must be in writing and filed with the Superintendent of DSH within thirty (30) days of notification of the decision.

2.    Employer complaints should be processed under the General Employer Complaint Policy. BWC has not identified any program-specific extenuating circumstances that apply to the Safety Intervention Grants Program.

I.      Scenarios.

1.    Number of employees affected by the intervention versus reported payroll.

An employer claims there are ten full time employees affected by the intervention. On the employer’s most recent payroll report, the payroll is $100,000 for the policy year.

 

Response: Ten full time employees would not have earnings this low even at minimum wage. In this situation, the grant will not be considered.

2.    Multiple grant applications.

An employer has received a SIG in the amount of $20,000 to purchase a dust collection vacuum system. Eleven (11) months later, it submits another application for a conveyor system in the amount of $13,000.

 

Response: This is acceptable. A single policy number can have multiple SIGs if the total of all grants does not exceed $40,000 during its eligibility cycle. Once the eligibility cycle ends, the employer is eligible for $40,000 once again in a new eligibility cycle.

3.    Testing equipment prior to purchase.

An employer applies for grant funds to purchase hydro-mobile scaffolding with a hydraulic lifting system to reduce risk of injuries due to manual construction and adjustment of scaffolding used on building sites. While reviewing the application, the Review Committee notices a section in the application discussing the success the company had with the equipment during a trial.

 

Response: The program allows for the testing of equipment prior to application, but this arrangement is between the employer and the vendor. Grant funds are not to be used for testing. Grant funds may only be used to purchase equipment after BWC approves the application, and the funds are provided to the employer. If testing equipment is used prior to submitting its application, the employer is required to provide baseline data for the one-year period prior to testing the equipment.

4.    Employer with previous grant.

An employer applies for a safety grant to purchase an automated packaging system at a cost of $75,000. The employer received two previous grants: One on April 1, 2020, for $15,000 and another on October 20, 2021, for $25,000.

 

Response: The employer’s eligibility cycle is three (3) years. The employer’s earliest grant is dated April 1, 2020. Since the employer has already received the maximum of $40,000 in this cycle, the employer will once again be eligible on April 1, 2023, for another $40,000.

5.    Financing.

An employer requests $40,000 in grant funds to assist with the purchase of a $65,000 conveyor system. The employer states in the application it will need to obtain a business loan for its portion of the project through a local bank.

 

Response: Upon approval and receipt of the grant funds, the employer must pay the $40,000 BWC grant directly to the equipment vendor for the purchase of the conveyor system. The employer may obtain a loan of $25,000 for the remaining cost of the conveyor system. The employer must provide BWC with the following: an invoice from the equipment vendor for the total purchase amount of $65,000, a copy of the loan agreement for $25,000, proof of the $25,000 loan payment made to the equipment vendor, and a copy of the cancelled check from the employer to the vendor in the amount of $40,000.