COLUMBUS – The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) will increase funding for the agency’s Safety Grants program for employers by $30 million over 2020 and 2021, bringing total grant funding to $70 million.
BWC’s Board of Directors approved the additional funds today at its monthly meeting. The funding request, $15 million per year in fiscal 2020 and 2021, will go to the state Controlling Board Feb. 10 for final approval.
“This past year, BWC has been very proactive in supporting and improving workplace safety,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “These grants will be distributed to Ohio businesses for various safety improvements.”
Popular in the employer community, the Safety Grants program has already reached its 2020 appropriation of $20 million, prompting the move by the board.
“The demand from Ohio employers for these grants has been tremendous,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “I’m pleased the board has taken this step to allow more employers to get the money they need to make workplaces safer and healthier across the state.”
The grants, up to $40,000 per employer, provide private and public State Insurance Fund employers funding for training, wellness programs, and equipment intended to reduce the risk of workplace injuries and illnesses.
As of Jan. 3, BWC has approved the following this fiscal year:
$8.2 million in School Safety and Security Grants.
$5 million in Safety Intervention Grants for manufacturers and other businesses.
$1.2 million in Ohio Law Enforcement Body Armor grants, a program administered by the Ohio Attorney General’s office.
Nearly $725,000 for fire departments to protect firefighters from carcinogens and other toxins.
$247,000 to protect social workers and others who work with people with disabilities.
$82,000 in Workplace Wellness Grants.
The agency has another $6.4 million in requests pending approval. The deadline for applying for safety grants for fiscal year 2020 funding is March 31. Applications for FY2021 funding will be accepted beginning July 1. More information on BWC’s Safety Grants is available online.