State law gives BWC protections to Ohio prison workers

Posted Jun. 18, 2020 by

A bill supported by OCSEA that will qualify Ohio Corrections Officers and other public prison staff for Workers' Compensation when exposed to fentanyl and bodily fluids has finally been signed into law. Ohio House Bill 81 was signed by the governor this week.

OCSEA actively lobbied for this Workers' Comp program change and is glad that the governor signed it into law. It's been a long time coming, says the union. "Our Ohio brothers and sisters in corrections are exposed to the spit, blood, urine, and a multitude of bodily-fluids that could impact their health. And not to mention the fentanyl crisis that plagues our prisons and has risked so many lives of staff," said OCSEA President Chris Mabe. HB 81 was introduced way back in February 2019. It mandates that BWC and self-insured employers under certain conditions cover testing costs when prison workers get exposed to fentanyl or bodily fluids. Read more.

The union also is closely monitoring legislation in the Ohio Senate that would give state agencies absolute immunity from civil law suits when it fails to protect employees during the COVID-19 crisis. House Bill 606 could have damaging consequences for state employees on the front lines, says the union, and gives state agencies a free pass and disincentivizes agencies from keeping employees safe. OCSEA continues to monitor this bill and will give updates when the Ohio Senate returns to session. Read more.