Skip Navigation Links.
Online Support available
Monday through Friday
7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Click here to get help!
OhioBWC - Basics: (Policy library) - File

Employer Policy

 

Interpreter Services

 

Policy Effective Date: October 15, 2010

 

 

Introduction/Scope

 

It is the policy of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) to provide fair and equitable treatment to all employers in their dealings with BWC.  In addition, BWC provides due process of law in administrative hearings (e.g. Adjudicating Committees, Administrator’s Designee hearings, Self-Insured Review Panel, Self-Insured Employer Evaluation Board hearings).

 

In that regard, it is essential to ensure that persons participating in administrative matters, receiving a BWC-initiated premium audit or having contact with any other BWC staff member have an opportunity to have their questions and concerns effectively expressed in English.  In addition, those persons who are not verbally competent in English or are hearing impaired should have interpreter services sufficient to ensure a full and fair interaction with BWC staff.

 

This policy applies to all BWC staff requiring interpreter or sign language services in their dealings with Ohio employers.  This policy does not apply to Claimants (injured workers) filing claims with BWC or appeals to the Industrial Commission.  Interpreter services for claimants are addressed in the BWC claims policy on Interpreters.

 

 

Definitions

 

·         BWC Bilingual Staff:  BWC staff who have indicated their ability to speak one or more foreign languages.  Interpretation is not their primary job function.

 

·         Interpreter: Any individual who can translate English into a foreign language and back.  These may be friends, relatives, co-workers, employees, etc. of an employer, or a BWC staff member.

 

·         Professional Interpreter:  Interpreter possessing interpretation skills and employed as an interpreter as part of their job.  Professional interpreters are neutral parties and are not associated with, nor have any monetary interest in the proceedings.  Professional interpreters provide on-site services.  BWC staff members and friends, relatives, co-workers, employees, etc. of an employer who provide interpretation services are not considered professional interpreters.

 

·         Signer: Any individual skilled in American Sign Language (ASL).  These may be friends, relatives, co-workers, employees, etc. of an employer, or a BWC staff member. (As of October 2010, BWC does not have any staff skilled in American Sign Language).

 

·         Professional Signer:  Individual skilled in American Sign Language (ASL) and employed as a Signer as part of their job.  Professional signers are neutral parties and are not associated with, nor have any monetary interest in the proceedings.  BWC staff members and friends, relatives, co-workers, employees, etc. of an employer who provide sign language service are not considered professional Signers.

 

·         Tele-Interpreter Services:  A private professional interpreter service contracted by BWC to provide over-the-phone interpreter services (does not provide on-site services)

 

 

Identification of a Need

 

·         The basic premise of BWC’s policy on interpreters for employers is that the employer has the primary responsibility to identify a need in regards to interpreters and/or sign language assistance.  In most cases, the non-English speaking or hearing impaired employer, by virtue of being an employer, has already established its own procedures on how to address potential language barriers when dealing with government agencies, suppliers, distributors, employees, customers, etc., whether through family members, employees, friends, etc.  BWC will not automatically provide an interpreter but will do so in situations where the employer cannot or will not provide their own.

 

·         In virtually all cases, the employer is aware of the potential barriers and will automatically provide its own interpreter or Signer when dealing with BWC (or any other governmental agency).  It is in situations where the employer or the BWC staff has identified a need, and the employer cannot or will not provide an interpreter or Signer, that this policy addresses.

 

·         The fundamental question determinative of the issue of whether BWC provides an interpreter is:  “Can this contact between BWC and the employer potentially lead to a negative impact on the employer (e.g. fines, penalties, additional premiums, or in extreme cases, fraud charges or referral to other government agencies for collections).  If so, use of a professional interpreter outside the control and influence of BWC should be used.  A professional interpreter is one that is provided by a contract with a private agency, as opposed to using a BWC staff member that is bilingual or is skilled in sign language.

 

 

Specific situations addressed in this policy include

 

·         Adjudicating Committee hearings

 

·         Administrator’s Designee hearings

 

·         Premium Audits

 

·         Employer Management staff encounters with employers (e.g. Employer Services Specialists processing an employer’s complaint, front counter staff initiating policy coverage, field consultants working with an employer).

 

Additional situations not specified above may also be covered by this policy.

 

 

Who pays for a professional interpreter, professional Signer and Tele-Interpreter services?

 

·         BWC will pay for professional interpreters or professional Signers procured by BWC.  BWC will pay for these services using the Surplus Fund, or in the case of Tele-Interpreters, through BWC’s contract with this service.  BWC will not pay for interpreters or Signers for self-insured employers or for interpreters or signers provided by the employer.

 

 

How to obtain the services of BWC bilingual staff, professional interpreters, professional Signers or Tele-Interpreter (phone – assisted) services?

 

·         BWC Bilingual Staff:  Refer to the list located on BWC’s internal web site under Divisions / Human Resources / Bilingual Employees.

 

·         Professional Interpreters/Professional Signers:  If BWC determines a professional interpreter or Signer is required on-site, contact the BWC Communications Department staff.  The Communications Department will make arrangements for the services of a professional interpreter or professional Signer and arrange for payment.  BWC Communications can be contacted via e-mail at BWCComm@bwc.state.oh.us.

 

·         Tele-Interpreters: BWC staff can contact Tele-Interpreters directly by calling 1-866-531-9038.  Instructions for contacting and using Tele-Interpreters are located at the end of this policy.

 

 

Adjudicating Committee Hearings and Administrator Designee Hearings

 

·         On-site interpretation services are the preferred method for Adjudicating Committee and Administrator’s Designee hearings due to the nature of the activity being conducted.  However, telephonic interpretation services are acceptable.

 

·         For an employer appearing before the Adjudicating Committee or Administrator’s Designee, the employer may provide its own interpreter.  In situations where the employer cannot or will not provide an interpreter or Signer and BWC believes due process can best be served by utilizing the services of a disinterested professional interpreter or professional Signer, BWC will provide the services of a professional interpreter or Signer at no cost to the employer.  Use of BWC bilingual staff or sign language proficient BWC staff is not considered acceptable in these situations due to possible perception of bias and/or competence.

 

·         An employer must provide advance notice of this need.  Usually, the BWC scheduler will be contacting the employer to schedule a hearing.  During this person-to-person contact, the scheduler can usually identify a need for an interpreter and recommend the employer bring someone with them.  If necessary, the scheduler can utilize the services of BWC bilingual staff to explain the various options available to the employer.  In the event an employer presents itself before the Adjudicating Committee or Administrator-Designee and the services of a language interpreter is deemed necessary, the hearing, by mutual agreement, may be rescheduled to allow time for the employer to obtain an interpreter, or for BWC to obtain the services of a professional interpreter.

 

·         If the employer wants to proceed with the hearing without its own interpreter, then BWC may use the Tele-Interpreter services through a phone conference.  The Adjudicating Committee recording secretary will follow the procedures outlined in this policy and initiate Tele-Interpreter services.

 

 

Premium Audits

 

·         On-site interpretation services are recommended for premium audits due to the nature of the activity being conducted (i.e. reviewing financial documents).

 

·         The audit schedulers will usually identify interpreter needs during scheduling contacts with the employer.  During this person-to-person contact, the scheduler can identify a need for an interpreter and recommend the employer have someone available on-site during the audit.  If the employer indicates it does not have its own interpreter available, the scheduler will notify the auditor of that need.  If necessary, the scheduler can utilize the services of BWC bilingual staff to explain the requirements of the audit.

 

 

Employer Management Contacts

 

·         Employer Management staff come in contact with employers in numerous situations.  These may include explaining various BWC programs, answering employer questions, initiating policy coverage, etc.  These contacts are less formal in nature and the assistance of a professional foreign language interpreter is not required.

 

·         The most effective solution is for the employer to provide interpreter services, as the employer is in the best position to know what it needs.  In the event the employer does not provide interpreter services, the following guidelines should be followed by BWC staff.

 

·         On-site visit with employer

 

Interpreter Services

 

·         Reschedule to allow employer time to obtain the services of an interpreter.  If the employer cannot obtain an interpreter, establish phone conference with BWC bilingual staff member.

 

·         In the event where an on-site interpreter is determined to be critical, contact your supervisor and the service office manager to discuss the possibility of having a BWC bilingual staff member accompany the EM staff member to the employer’s location.

 

·         If an on-site interpreter is determined critical and there are no qualified BWC staff available, contact your supervisor and the service office manager to discuss the possibility of having a professional interpreter contracted to make an on-site visit at the employer’s location.

 

Signer

 

·         Reschedule to allow employer time to obtain the services of a Signer.

 

·         If the employer cannot obtain a Signer, the BWC staff should contact their supervisor to schedule a professional Signer accompany the BWC staff to the employer at a future date.

 

·         In Service Office

 

Interpreter Services

 

·         The use of a bilingual BWC employee in the local office is preferable.  If there are no BWC staff available in the office, established a phone conference with a bilingual BWC employee from another service office.

 

·         If no BWC bilingual staff member is available within the agency, EM staff can utilize the services of Tele-Interpreter for over-the-phone interpreter services.

 

·         In the event where a face-to-face interpreter is determined to be critical and there is a BWC staff member available in another service office, contact your supervisor and the service office manager to discuss the possibility of having the BWC bilingual staff member travel to the local service office.

 

Signer: If a professional Signer is required, contact BWC communications to schedule a Signer.

 

 

 

 

 


Instructions for Obtaining and Recording Tele-Interpreter Services

 

The Ohio BWC contracts with Tele-Interpreters of Monterey, California for phone assisted interpreter services.  BWC staff can contact Tele-Interpreters directly to request interpreter services.  Once the service has been provided, the BWC staff must record the service provided into BWC’s data base for payment purposes.

 

Before initiating Tele-Interpreter services, ask the employer if they are willing to use this service.  Ensure the employer that the interpreter is not a BWC employee.  This will help assure the employer that the interpretation will be impartial.

 

 

To obtain interpreter services through Tele-Interpreters:

(Have either an extension phone or speaker phone available before you initiate the Tele-Interpreters service)

 

Dial 1-866-531-9038

 

Enter on keyboard (or provide Tele-Interpreter representative):

 

BWC client number: This is the account number assigned to BWC.  BWC staff can view this number by accessing BWC’s J-Drive and opening the file under J – Drive / EM – Policy Tech / Tele-Interpreter Client Number.    Note: The BWC client number is a confidential number and should not be provided to non-BWC individuals.

 

Your A – number

 

Your first name

 

Employer’s policy number

 

Press “1” for Spanish assistance

 

Press “2” for all other languages.  Say the language you need at the prompt

 

An interpreter will be connected to the call (interpreters identify themselves only first name and number.  Record this information for your records)

 

Brief the interpreter.  Summarize what you wish to accomplish and give any special instructions.

 

Add the non-English individual to the line (either via extension phone or speaker phone)

 

Once call is completed, say “End of Call” to interpreter

 

 

 

 

 


Recording the call on BWC’s Share Point data base

 

Once the call is completed, the BWC staff member is required to record the call on BWC’s Claims On-Line Resources (COR) Tele-Interpreters Share Point data base.

 

To access the share point site:

 

Use this link:   http://bwcapps/cor/Lists/TeleInterpreter%20Usage/AllItems.aspx.

 

Or

 

Go to BWC’s Internet Explorer Browser / Task and Tools

 

Under “Claim Tools”, click on COR

 

Scroll down and click on to Tele-Interpreters

 

Under “Tips and Tools”, click on Tele-Interpreters Usage Data Base.

 

Once on the Tele-Interpreters Usage Data Base:

 

Click on “New”

 

Fill in the 6 boxes

 

BWC employee name (click on the open book on the far right to obtain the correct employee name).

 

Employee’s A – number

 

Office (click on the drop down arrow and select appropriate office)

 

Customer’s (employer’s) name

 

Employer’s policy number

 

Comments: Enter 1- 2 sentence explanation of what you did with the employer (e.g. discussed One Claim Program, used interpreter to assist with Adjudicating Committee hearing regarding retroactive coverage, etc.)

 

When done, click on “OK”

 

No further action is required of the BWC staff member


Resources