R.C. 4121.13 sets forth the Administrator’s duty in regard to safety violations. To state it simply, the code requires the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), to ascertain and declare safety standards which are “Best adapted to render the employees of every employment and place of employment safe.” R.C. 4121.13. The standards must be “reasonable” and equipped to ensure the “protection of the life, health, safety, and welfare of employees in employments and places of employment or frequenters of places of employment.” R.C. 4121.13(A)-(D).
Anyone who practices workers’ compensation in the state of Ohio knows that the BWC has failed to live up to its obligations under R.C. 4121.13. To the best of my knowledge, the last meaningful review of the safety violation (VSSR) codes happened over 25 years ago. More recent revisions to the codes have been little more than cursory adjustments. Unfortunately, the workplace is very different than it was 25 years ago, the codes have become so outdated such that the existing provisions rarely apply to the equipment found in the modern workplace. The result is that employers can freely apply lax safety policies with little fear of consequences rendered from the extant VSSR codes. [Read more…]