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OhioBWC - Basics:  Industrial Commission (IC)

The Industrial Commission of Ohio

The Industrial Commission of Ohio (IC) is the adjudicatory branch of the workers' compensation system. In addition to establishing adjudicatory policies, the IC has original jurisdiction on claims matters, such as determining levels of disability and resolving disputed claims issues. The IC has five regional offices located in Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo. Additionally, district offices are located in Dayton, Youngstown, Lima, Cambridge, Logan, Mansfield and Portsmouth.

Hearings are held at the Industrial Commission service office that is closest to the injured worker's residence. The injured worker/injured worker's authorized representative, employer/employer's authorized representative, and BWC will be given adequate written notice as to the time and place that the hearing will be held so that they may attend and present evidence at the hearing.

The IC is the adjudicating body in the Ohio workers’ compensation system. The IC adopts rules (Ohio Administrative Code) governing the conduct of hearings and rendering decisions by any of the three levels of hearings, the district hearing officer (DHO), staff hearing officer (SHO) and commissioners.

The rules provide for the following:

  • Adequate notice of a hearing to all parties and their representatives so they have the opportunity to attend and present evidence at the hearing;
  • Pre-hearing issues such as discovery, depositions and the exchange of claim information. Hearings that are open to the public;
  • Appeals that are impartially assigned to the DHO or SHO;
  • Hearings held in the service office closest to the injured worker’s residence.
The decisions of the DHO, SHO or commissioners according to ORC 4121.36(B), will be in writing and contain the following:

  • A description of the claim issues, determined by the order;
  • Notation of the notice provided and appearance of the parties;
  • Description and nature of the allowed conditions recognized in the claim;
  • Signatures of each commissioner or appropriate hearing officer on the original copy of the decision only, verifying the commissioner's or hearing officer's vote.

The IC is comprised of three hearing levels.

  • District Hearing Officer
    The DHO has jurisdiction to hear and decide all appeals to determinations under Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 4123.511(B) and all other contested claim matters under ORC 4121; 4123; 4127; and 4131 except those matters under the jurisdiction of the SHO.
    • According to ORC 4123.511(C), the DHO will notify the parties of the time and place of the hearing.
    • The DHO will hear a disputed issue or claim within 45 days after the filing date of the appeal.
    • An order will be issued within seven days of the hearing.
    • The DHO Order may be appealed to the SHO within 14 days after its receipt.
  • Staff Hearing Officer
    According to ORC 4121.35(B) the SHO has jurisdiction to hear and decide the following issues:
    • Appealed DHO Orders;
    • Applications for Permanent Total Disability (PTD) awards and applications for Violation of Specific Safety Regulations (VSSR) awards;
    • Applications for reconsideration of compensation awards made under ORC 4123.57;
    • Review of settlement agreements made according to ORC 4123.65(D). Decisions made by the SHO according to ORC 4123.65 are final and are not appealable to the IC or to the Court.
    According to ORC 4123.511(D), the SHO will hold a hearing within 45 days following date of the appeal. An order will be issued no later than seven days after the hearing. The SHO order may be appealed to the IC commissioners within 14 days after its receipt.
  • IC Commissioners’ Panel
    The Commissioners’ Panel is a governor-appointed, three-member board representing employers, employees and the public.
    • The IC Commissioners’ will determine whether to hear an appeal on a case-by-case basis.
    • According to ORC 4123.511(E) the IC Commissioners, at their discretion, will hear appeals to SHO Orders.
    • If the commissioners decide to hear an appeal, a hearing will be held within 45 days after the filing date of the appeal.
    • An order will be issued no later than seven days after the hearing.
    • If the commissioners decide to not hear an appeal, an order will be issued within 14 days of the appeal’s filing date.
    • Orders issued by the IC commissioners, with the exception of those determining the extent of disability, can be appealed to Court of Common Pleas.



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