The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) has announced proposed rules for its new Drug-Free Safety Program (DFSP) designed to promote the health of Ohio's workforce by preventing workplace injuries attributed to the use or abuse of drugs. The new program will bring an end to the current Drug-Free Workplace Program (DFWP) with the DFSP to replace it by July 1, 2010. The changes were called for in a recent comprehensive study of Ohio's workers' compensation system.

The Drug-Free Safety Program simplifies the process for employers to join and implements a program that will provide measurable results by tracking drug or substance abuse-related accidents.

According to the Ohio BWC, the new Drug-Free Safety Program has these proposed features:

  • Two levels of participation, basic and advanced, which offers premium discounts in the range of four-to-seven percent. The advanced level requires random drug testing of at least 25% of all employees
  • The new program is expected to allow some small discount stacking for group employers participating at the advanced level.
  • The current 5-year participation limit is eliminated.
  • One enrollment period annually for private employers - May 28, 2010 for the current year and April 30 in all subsequent years. An annual progress reporting deadline will be March 31.
  • Recommendations regarding employer policy elements, safety management elements and employee assistance components are further defined.

The Ohio BWC Board of Directors is expected to make a final approval vote on the DFSP when it meets for its next regularly scheduled meeting on March 26, 2010.