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May 17, 2010
BWC Offers Improved Drug Program
On July 1, 2010, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) will replace its existing Drug-Free Workplace Program with an enhanced Drug-Free Safety Program (DFSP). The new program features smaller discounts than the former program, but has been simplified and expanded to include more employers. DFSP is also designed to more effectively prevent illness and injuries by integrating drug abuse prevention into companies’ comprehensive safety management systems.

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DFSP allows employers to participate indefinitely, eliminating the former 5-year limit on benefits. Furthermore, DFSP features a streamlined application process, with only two levels, basic and advanced, instead of the former three-tier arrangement. Employers in the basic program will receive a 4 percent discount, while those in the advanced program will receive a 7 percent discount. Both programs incorporate the same components as BWC’s former drug-free program, which include the following:

  • A written substance abuse policy that describes the company’s drug-free program
  • A safety review to identify gaps in existing programs
  • Education for all employees in the workplace, updated annually
  • Supervisor training, including accident analysis
  • A program of alcohol and other drug testing
  • Employee assistance

To participate in the advanced program, employers must implement a safety action plan to address gaps uncovered in the safety review. The advanced program also carries more extensive drug testing and employee assistance requirements than the basic program. For both program levels, training requirements have been lightened in DFSP compared to the original BWC program.

DFSP will be available to private employers on July 1, 2010, and to public employers on January 1, 2011. The application deadline is June 30 for the July 2010 program year and the last business day in October for the January 2011 program year. For more information, visit

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