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OhioBWC - Basics: (Policy library) - File

OHIO BUREAU OF WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

Public Records Policy

 

In the spirit of open government, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) complies with the Ohio Public Records Act, set forth in Section 149.43 of the Ohio Revised Code.  The code provides the legal framework for seeking information from Ohio’s public offices.  This policy will further outline general procedures for requesting public records that BWC maintains.

 

Public Record Defined

Not all materials maintained by a state or local office are public records.  In accordance with the Ohio Public Records Act, BWC generally regards a “public record” as the following: (1) Any document, device, or item; (2) maintained by a public office; (3) created, received, or sent by a public office; (4) which documents the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the office; and (5) which does not fall under any exceptions to the Act.

 

Availability of Records Within a Reasonable Time

As the law requires, BWC makes every effort to ensure public records are available for inspection promptly and within a reasonable time period.  To this end, “prompt” and “reasonable” depend upon:

·         Volume of records requested;

·         Form of the requested records;

·         The proximity of the location where the records are stored;

·         The need for any pre-release review of the records requested;

·         The scope of the request, the ease or difficulty of identifying, compiling, and reviewing potentially responsive records, and BWC’s operational needs.

 

Requestor’s Rights

A requestor cannot be required to:

·         Disclose his or her identity;

·         Identify the purpose for the request;

·         Submit the request in writing.

However—subject to the requestor’s right to decline—BWC may ask for this information if it would enable BWC to identify responsive records with greater accuracy and efficiency.

 

Because Ohio law exempts certain records from public disclosure, BWC reviews potentially responsive records before releasing them.  This helps protect exempt information as permitted or required by law.  Once BWC receives a request, the public records unit searches for, gathers, and reviews responsive records.  If necessary, BWC will make appropriate redactions and/or withhold exempt records prior to disclosing the material.  In accordance with this process, records will typically not be available the same day a request is made.

 

Costs

BWC may require the requestor to pay the actual costs for copying, delivering, or transmitting the records (including the cost of materials, packaging supplies, postage, etc.).  As a general rule, the charge for producing records should be no more than 5 cents per page and $1 per CD-Rom.  In addition, BWC may require the requestor to pay in advance.

 

Requests/Questions

Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation

Attention:  Legal Division-Public Records Unit

30 W. Spring Street, 26th Floor

Columbus, Ohio  43215

Phone:  614-728-5574/Fax: 614-621-9454

Email:  publicrecords@bwc.state.oh.us


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