In an effort to bring attention to employers that are not paying their workers’ compensation premiums, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) has released the names of the top 150 Ohio businesses with lapsed workers’ comp premium payments and is encouraging media outlets to print the names of these businesses.
As of July 7, 2004, 1,710 Ohio businesses owing more than $1,000 let their BWC premiums reach a lapsed status. By not keeping coverage up to date, these businesses are breaking state law.
“Employers that do not pay their fair share are cheating the system. Non-compliance is taken very seriously by BWC and its partners,” James Conrad, Administrator and CEO, remarked. “Not only are businesses without coverage breaking the law, they are also showing their employees that workplace safety is not a priority.”
According to Conrad, Ohio companies that fail to pay premiums not only hurt the workers’ comp system, they also hinder Ohio’s economy.
“Businesses that do not pay their premiums have an unfair advantage,” Conrad said. “In competitive bidding situations, Ohio employers that do not pay into the workers’ compensation system can undercut competition and unfairly win a job. By stealing from BWC and Ohio, these companies are also stealing work they normally might not win, and it’s imperative the bureau, along with state’s employers and taxpayers, put a stop to this type of activity.”
BWC works aggressively to get non-compliant employers to pay their premiums. The bureau immediately sends offending employers a notice, alerting them their workers’ comp premium has not been paid. BWC then attempts to work with the business to regain coverage through phone calls, letters and possible business visits. Should these efforts fail, their premium amount is certified to the Attorney General’s office for legal action.
The Attorney General’s office assesses interest to lapsed accounts and in some situations, will file a lien or even enjoin the property.
Further, should an employee be injured on the job while the business’ workers’ comp coverage is lapsed, the employer would have to pay dollar for dollar the cost of the claim.
To help enlist Ohio citizens, BWC has unveiled a tool on its Web site, the employer coverage look-up, which will allow the public to check out employers and see if they’re paying into the system. This tool can be accessed by going to ohiobwc.com and clicking on the Ohio employers, then Coverage look-up.
Some specific examples where this tool may be useful include:
* Ohio homeowners who have recently hired a contractor for their services;
* Ohio employers who are curious about those with whom they do business;
* Ohio contractors who want to check on the coverage status of subcontractors.
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