130th Ohio General Assembly
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(127th General Assembly)
(Amended Substitute Senate Bill Number 334)



AN ACT
To amend sections 4123.01, 4123.26, 4123.29, 4123.34, 4123.51, 4123.54, 4123.82, and 4123.88 and to enact sections 4123.292 and 4123.542 to prohibit an employee from filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits in this state if the employee has received a decision on the merits of a claim filed in another state for the same injury or occupational disease, to allow an Ohio employer to obtain workers' compensation insurance for claims arising in other states through the Administrator of Workers' Compensation, if the Administrator elects to provide such insurance, or an insurance company, to make other changes to the Workers' Compensation Law regarding interstate workers' compensation claims and the surplus of the State Insurance Fund, and to allow an individual whose primary occupation is as a journalist to access specified worker's compensation records.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio:

SECTION 1. That sections 4123.01, 4123.26, 4123.29, 4123.34, 4123.51, 4123.54, 4123.82, 4123.88 be amended and sections 4123.292 and 4123.542 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:

Sec. 4123.01.  As used in this chapter:

(A)(1) "Employee" means:

(a) Every person in the service of the state, or of any county, municipal corporation, township, or school district therein, including regular members of lawfully constituted police and fire departments of municipal corporations and townships, whether paid or volunteer, and wherever serving within the state or on temporary assignment outside thereof, and executive officers of boards of education, under any appointment or contract of hire, express or implied, oral or written, including any elected official of the state, or of any county, municipal corporation, or township, or members of boards of education.

As used in division (A)(1)(a) of this section, the term "employee" includes the following persons when responding to an inherently dangerous situation that calls for an immediate response on the part of the person, regardless of whether the person is within the limits of the jurisdiction of the person's regular employment or voluntary service when responding, on the condition that the person responds to the situation as the person otherwise would if the person were on duty in the person's jurisdiction:

(i) Off-duty peace officers. As used in division (A)(1)(a)(i) of this section, "peace officer" has the same meaning as in section 2935.01 of the Revised Code.

(ii) Off-duty firefighters, whether paid or volunteer, of a lawfully constituted fire department.

(iii) Off-duty first responders, emergency medical technicians-basic, emergency medical technicians-intermediate, or emergency medical technicians-paramedic, whether paid or volunteer, of an ambulance service organization or emergency medical service organization pursuant to Chapter 4765. of the Revised Code.

(b) Every person in the service of any person, firm, or private corporation, including any public service corporation, that (i) employs one or more persons regularly in the same business or in or about the same establishment under any contract of hire, express or implied, oral or written, including aliens and minors, household workers who earn one hundred sixty dollars or more in cash in any calendar quarter from a single household and casual workers who earn one hundred sixty dollars or more in cash in any calendar quarter from a single employer, or (ii) is bound by any such contract of hire or by any other written contract, to pay into the state insurance fund the premiums provided by this chapter.

(c) Every person who performs labor or provides services pursuant to a construction contract, as defined in section 4123.79 of the Revised Code, if at least ten of the following criteria apply:

(i) The person is required to comply with instructions from the other contracting party regarding the manner or method of performing services;

(ii) The person is required by the other contracting party to have particular training;

(iii) The person's services are integrated into the regular functioning of the other contracting party;

(iv) The person is required to perform the work personally;

(v) The person is hired, supervised, or paid by the other contracting party;

(vi) A continuing relationship exists between the person and the other contracting party that contemplates continuing or recurring work even if the work is not full time;

(vii) The person's hours of work are established by the other contracting party;

(viii) The person is required to devote full time to the business of the other contracting party;

(ix) The person is required to perform the work on the premises of the other contracting party;

(x) The person is required to follow the order of work set by the other contracting party;

(xi) The person is required to make oral or written reports of progress to the other contracting party;

(xii) The person is paid for services on a regular basis such as hourly, weekly, or monthly;

(xiii) The person's expenses are paid for by the other contracting party;

(xiv) The person's tools and materials are furnished by the other contracting party;

(xv) The person is provided with the facilities used to perform services;

(xvi) The person does not realize a profit or suffer a loss as a result of the services provided;

(xvii) The person is not performing services for a number of employers at the same time;

(xviii) The person does not make the same services available to the general public;

(xix) The other contracting party has a right to discharge the person;

(xx) The person has the right to end the relationship with the other contracting party without incurring liability pursuant to an employment contract or agreement.

Every person in the service of any independent contractor or subcontractor who has failed to pay into the state insurance fund the amount of premium determined and fixed by the administrator of workers' compensation for the person's employment or occupation or if a self-insuring employer has failed to pay compensation and benefits directly to the employer's injured and to the dependents of the employer's killed employees as required by section 4123.35 of the Revised Code, shall be considered as the employee of the person who has entered into a contract, whether written or verbal, with such independent contractor unless such employees or their legal representatives or beneficiaries elect, after injury or death, to regard such independent contractor as the employer.

(d) Every person to whom all of the following apply:

(i) The person is a resident of a state other than this state and is covered by that other state's workers' compensation law;

(ii) The person performs labor or provides services for that person's employer while temporarily within this state;

(iii) The laws of that other state do not include the provisions described in division (H)(4) of section 4123.54 of the Revised Code.

(2) "Employee" does not mean:

(a) A duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister or assistant or associate minister of a church in the exercise of ministry;

(b) Any officer of a family farm corporation;

(c) An individual incorporated as a corporation; or

(d) An individual who otherwise is an employee of an employer but who signs the waiver and affidavit specified in section 4123.15 of the Revised Code on the condition that the administrator has granted a waiver and exception to the individual's employer under section 4123.15 of the Revised Code.

Any employer may elect to include as an "employee" within this chapter, any person excluded from the definition of "employee" pursuant to division (A)(2) of this section. If an employer is a partnership, sole proprietorship, individual incorporated as a corporation, or family farm corporation, such employer may elect to include as an "employee" within this chapter, any member of such partnership, the owner of the sole proprietorship, the individual incorporated as a corporation, or the officers of the family farm corporation. In the event of an election, the employer shall serve upon the bureau of workers' compensation written notice naming the persons to be covered, include such employee's remuneration for premium purposes in all future payroll reports, and no person excluded from the definition of "employee" pursuant to division (A)(2) of this section, proprietor, individual incorporated as a corporation, or partner shall be deemed an employee within this division until the employer has served such notice.

For informational purposes only, the bureau shall prescribe such language as it considers appropriate, on such of its forms as it considers appropriate, to advise employers of their right to elect to include as an "employee" within this chapter a sole proprietor, any member of a partnership, an individual incorporated as a corporation, the officers of a family farm corporation, or a person excluded from the definition of "employee" under division (A)(2) of this section, that they should check any health and disability insurance policy, or other form of health and disability plan or contract, presently covering them, or the purchase of which they may be considering, to determine whether such policy, plan, or contract excludes benefits for illness or injury that they might have elected to have covered by workers' compensation.

(B) "Employer" means:

(1) The state, including state hospitals, each county, municipal corporation, township, school district, and hospital owned by a political subdivision or subdivisions other than the state;

(2) Every person, firm, professional employer organization as defined in section 4125.01 of the Revised Code, and private corporation, including any public service corporation, that (a) has in service one or more employees or shared employees regularly in the same business or in or about the same establishment under any contract of hire, express or implied, oral or written, or (b) is bound by any such contract of hire or by any other written contract, to pay into the insurance fund the premiums provided by this chapter.

All such employers are subject to this chapter. Any member of a firm or association, who regularly performs manual labor in or about a mine, factory, or other establishment, including a household establishment, shall be considered an employee in determining whether such person, firm, or private corporation, or public service corporation, has in its service, one or more employees and the employer shall report the income derived from such labor to the bureau as part of the payroll of such employer, and such member shall thereupon be entitled to all the benefits of an employee.

(C) "Injury" includes any injury, whether caused by external accidental means or accidental in character and result, received in the course of, and arising out of, the injured employee's employment. "Injury" does not include:

(1) Psychiatric conditions except where the claimant's psychiatric conditions have arisen from an injury or occupational disease sustained by that claimant or where the claimant's psychiatric conditions have arisen from sexual conduct in which the claimant was forced by threat of physical harm to engage or participate;

(2) Injury or disability caused primarily by the natural deterioration of tissue, an organ, or part of the body;

(3) Injury or disability incurred in voluntary participation in an employer-sponsored recreation or fitness activity if the employee signs a waiver of the employee's right to compensation or benefits under this chapter prior to engaging in the recreation or fitness activity;

(4) A condition that pre-existed an injury unless that pre-existing condition is substantially aggravated by the injury. Such a substantial aggravation must be documented by objective diagnostic findings, objective clinical findings, or objective test results. Subjective complaints may be evidence of such a substantial aggravation. However, subjective complaints without objective diagnostic findings, objective clinical findings, or objective test results are insufficient to substantiate a substantial aggravation.

(D) "Child" includes a posthumous child and a child legally adopted prior to the injury.

(E) "Family farm corporation" means a corporation founded for the purpose of farming agricultural land in which the majority of the voting stock is held by and the majority of the stockholders are persons or the spouse of persons related to each other within the fourth degree of kinship, according to the rules of the civil law, and at least one of the related persons is residing on or actively operating the farm, and none of whose stockholders are a corporation. A family farm corporation does not cease to qualify under this division where, by reason of any devise, bequest, or the operation of the laws of descent or distribution, the ownership of shares of voting stock is transferred to another person, as long as that person is within the degree of kinship stipulated in this division.

(F) "Occupational disease" means a disease contracted in the course of employment, which by its causes and the characteristics of its manifestation or the condition of the employment results in a hazard which distinguishes the employment in character from employment generally, and the employment creates a risk of contracting the disease in greater degree and in a different manner from the public in general.

(G) "Self-insuring employer" means an employer who is granted the privilege of paying compensation and benefits directly under section 4123.35 of the Revised Code, including a board of county commissioners for the sole purpose of constructing a sports facility as defined in section 307.696 of the Revised Code, provided that the electors of the county in which the sports facility is to be built have approved construction of a sports facility by ballot election no later than November 6, 1997.

(H) "Public employer" means an employer as defined in division (B)(1) of this section.

(I) "Sexual conduct" means vaginal intercourse between a male and female; anal intercourse, fellatio, and cunnilingus between persons regardless of gender; and, without privilege to do so, the insertion, however slight, of any part of the body or any instrument, apparatus, or other object into the vaginal or anal cavity of another. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete vaginal or anal intercourse.

(J) "Other-states' insurer" means an insurance company that is authorized to provide workers' compensation insurance coverage in any of the states that permit employers to obtain insurance for workers' compensation claims through insurance companies.

(K) "Other-states' coverage" means insurance coverage purchased by an employer for workers' compensation claims that arise in a state or states other than this state and that are filed by the employees of the employer or those employee's dependents, as applicable, in that other state or those other states.

Sec. 4123.26.  Every employer shall keep records of, and furnish to the bureau of workers' compensation upon request, all information required by the administrator of workers' compensation to carry out this chapter. In January of each year, every employer of the state employing one or more employees regularly in the same business, or in or about the same establishment, shall prepare and mail to the bureau at its main office in Columbus a statement containing the following information, as applicable:

(A) The number of employees employed during the preceding year from the first day of January through the thirty-first day of December;

(B) The number of such employees employed at each kind of employment and the aggregate amount of wages paid to such employees;

(C) If an employer elects to obtain other-states' coverage pursuant to section 4123.292 of the Revised Code through either the administrator, if the administrator elects to offer such coverage, or an other-states' insurer for claims arising in a state or states other than this state, all of the following information:

(1) The amount of wages the employer paid to the employer's employees for performing labor or providing services for the employer in this state;

(2) The amount of wages the employer paid to the employer's employees for performing labor or providing services for the employer in a state or states other than this state.

The allocation of wages identified by the employer pursuant to divisions (C)(1) and (2) of this section shall not be presumed to be an indication of the law under which an employee is eligible to receive compensation and benefits.

The information shall be furnished on a blank to be prepared by the bureau. The bureau shall furnish the blanks to employers free of charge upon request therefor. Every employer receiving from the bureau any blank, with directions to fill out the same, shall cause the same to be properly filled out so as to answer fully and correctly all questions therein propounded, and give all the information therein sought, or if unable to do so, he the employer shall give to the bureau in writing good and sufficient reasons for such failure. The bureau may require that the information required to be furnished be verified under oath and returned to the bureau within the period fixed by it or by law. The bureau or any person employed by the bureau for that purpose, may examine, under oath, any employer, or the officer, agent, or employee thereof, for the purpose of ascertaining any information which the employer is required to furnish to the bureau.

No employer shall fail to furnish to the bureau the annual statement required by this section, nor shall any employer fail to keep records of or furnish such other information as may be required by the bureau under this section.

Whoever violates this section shall forfeit five hundred dollars, to be collected in a civil action brought against the employer in the name of the state, to be paid into the state insurance fund and become a part thereof.

Sec. 4123.29.  (A) The administrator of workers' compensation, subject to the approval of the bureau of workers' compensation board of directors, shall do all of the following:

(1) Classify occupations or industries with respect to their degree of hazard and determine the risks of the different classes according to the categories the national council on compensation insurance establishes that are applicable to employers in this state;

(2)(a) Fix the rates of premium of the risks of the classes based upon the total payroll in each of the classes of occupation or industry sufficiently large to provide a fund for the compensation provided for in this chapter and to maintain a state insurance fund from year to year. The administrator shall set the rates at a level that assures the solvency of the fund. Where the payroll cannot be obtained or, in the opinion of the administrator, is not an adequate measure for determining the premium to be paid for the degree of hazard, the administrator may determine the rates of premium upon such other basis, consistent with insurance principles, as is equitable in view of the degree of hazard, and whenever in this chapter reference is made to payroll or expenditure of wages with reference to fixing premiums, the reference shall be construed to have been made also to such other basis for fixing the rates of premium as the administrator may determine under this section.

(b) If an employer elects to obtain other-states' coverage pursuant to section 4123.292 of the Revised Code through either the administrator, if the administrator elects to offer such coverage, or an other-states' insurer, calculate the employer's premium for the state insurance fund in the same manner as otherwise required under division (A) of this section and section 4123.34 of the Revised Code, except that when the administrator determines the expenditure of wages, payroll, or both upon which to base the employer's premium, the administrator shall use only the expenditure of wages, payroll, or both attributable to the labor performed and services provided by that employer's employees when those employees performed labor and provided services in this state only and to which the other-states' coverage does not apply.

(c) The administrator in setting or revising rates shall furnish to employers an adequate explanation of the basis for the rates set.

(3) Develop and make available to employers who are paying premiums to the state insurance fund alternative premium plans. Alternative premium plans shall include retrospective rating plans. The administrator may make available plans under which an advanced deposit may be applied against a specified deductible amount per claim.

(4)(a) Offer to insure the obligations of employers under this chapter under a plan that groups, for rating purposes, employers, and pools the risk of the employers within the group provided that the employers meet all of the following conditions:

(i) All of the employers within the group are members of an organization that has been in existence for at least two years prior to the date of application for group coverage;

(ii) The organization was formed for purposes other than that of obtaining group workers' compensation under this division;

(iii) The employers' business in the organization is substantially similar such that the risks which are grouped are substantially homogeneous;

(iv) The group of employers consists of at least one hundred members or the aggregate workers' compensation premiums of the members, as determined by the administrator, are expected to exceed one hundred fifty thousand dollars during the coverage period;

(v) The formation and operation of the group program in the organization will substantially improve accident prevention and claims handling for the employers in the group;

(vi) Each employer seeking to enroll in a group for workers' compensation coverage has an industrial insurance account in good standing with the bureau of workers' compensation such that at the time the agreement is processed no outstanding premiums, penalties, or assessments are due from any of the employers.

(b) If an organization sponsors more than one employer group to participate in group plans established under this section, that organization may submit a single application that supplies all of the information necessary for each group of employers that the organization wishes to sponsor.

(c) In providing employer group plans under division (A)(4) of this section, the administrator shall consider an employer group as a single employing entity for purposes of retrospective rating. No employer may be a member of more than one group for the purpose of obtaining workers' compensation coverage under this division.

(d) At the time the administrator revises premium rates pursuant to this section and section 4123.34 of the Revised Code, if the premium rate of an employer who participates in a group plan established under this section changes from the rate established for the previous year, the administrator, in addition to sending the invoice with the rate revision to that employer, shall send a copy of that invoice to the third-party administrator that administers the group plan for that employer's group.

(e) In providing employer group plans under division (A)(4) of this section, the administrator shall establish a program designed to mitigate the impact of a significant claim that would come into the experience of a private, state fund group-rated employer for the first time and be a contributing factor in that employer being excluded from a group-rated plan. The administrator shall establish eligibility criteria and requirements that such employers must satisfy in order to participate in this program. For purposes of this program, the administrator shall establish a discount on premium rates applicable to employers who qualify for the program.

(f) In no event shall division (A)(4) of this section be construed as granting to an employer status as a self-insuring employer.

(g) The administrator shall develop classifications of occupations or industries that are sufficiently distinct so as not to group employers in classifications that unfairly represent the risks of employment with the employer.

(5) Generally promote employer participation in the state insurance fund through the regular dissemination of information to all classes of employers describing the advantages and benefits of opting to make premium payments to the fund. To that end, the administrator shall regularly make employers aware of the various workers' compensation premium packages developed and offered pursuant to this section.

(6) Make available to every employer who is paying premiums to the state insurance fund a program whereby the employer or the employer's agent pays to the claimant or on behalf of the claimant the first fifteen thousand dollars of a compensable workers' compensation medical-only claim filed by that claimant that is related to the same injury or occupational disease. No formal application is required; however, an employer must elect to participate by telephoning the bureau after July 1, 1995. Once an employer has elected to participate in the program, the employer will be responsible for all bills in all medical-only claims with a date of injury the same or later than the election date, unless the employer notifies the bureau within fourteen days of receipt of the notification of a claim being filed that it does not wish to pay the bills in that claim, or the employer notifies the bureau that the fifteen thousand dollar maximum has been paid, or the employer notifies the bureau of the last day of service on which it will be responsible for the bills in a particular medical-only claim. If an employer elects to enter the program, the administrator shall not reimburse the employer for such amounts paid and shall not charge the first fifteen thousand dollars of any medical-only claim paid by an employer to the employer's experience or otherwise use it in merit rating or determining the risks of any employer for the purpose of payment of premiums under this chapter. If an employer elects to enter the program and the employer fails to pay a bill for a medical-only claim included in the program, the employer shall be liable for that bill and the employee for whom the employer failed to pay the bill shall not be liable for that bill. The administrator shall adopt rules to implement and administer division (A)(6) of this section. Upon written request from the bureau, the employer shall provide documentation to the bureau of all medical-only bills that they are paying directly. Such requests from the bureau may not be made more frequently than on a semiannual basis. Failure to provide such documentation to the bureau within thirty days of receipt of the request may result in the employer's forfeiture of participation in the program for such injury. The provisions of this section shall not apply to claims in which an employer with knowledge of a claimed compensable injury or occupational disease, has paid wages in lieu of compensation or total disability.

(B) The administrator, with the advice and consent of the board, by rule, may do both of the following:

(1) Grant an employer who makes the employer's semiannual premium payment at least one month prior to the last day on which the payment may be made without penalty, a discount as the administrator fixes from time to time;

(2) Levy a minimum annual administrative charge upon risks where semiannual premium reports develop a charge less than the administrator considers adequate to offset administrative costs of processing.

Sec. 4123.292. (A) Notwithstanding sections 4123.35 and 4123.82 of the Revised Code, an employer may elect to obtain other-states' coverage through an other-states' insurer or, if the administrator of workers' compensation elects to offer such coverage, through the administrator pursuant to division (B) of this section. An employer who elects to obtain other-states' coverage shall submit a written notice to the administrator stating that election and, if the employer elects to obtain that coverage through an other-states' insurer, the name of the other-states' insurer through whom the employer has obtained that coverage. If an employer fails to pay the employer's premium for other-states' coverage, the administrator shall consider the employer to be noncompliant for the purposes of having other-states' coverage but shall not consider the employer to be a noncomplying employer for purposes of this chapter or Chapter 4121., 4127., or 4131. of the Revised Code unless the employer otherwise fails to comply with section 4123.35 of the Revised Code.

(B) The administrator may secure other-states' coverage to allow an employer who wishes to obtain other-states' coverage pursuant to this section and who elects to obtain that coverage through the administrator for workers' compensation claims arising in a state or states other than this state. If the administrator elects to secure other-states' coverage, the administrator shall follow the competitive bidding requirements specified in Chapter 125. of the Revised Code to select one other-states' insurer, and the administrator, with the advice and consent of the bureau of workers' compensation board of directors, shall award the contract to provide other-states' coverage for employers located in this state to the other-states' insurer that is the lowest and best bidder.

(C) If the administrator elects to secure other-states' coverage pursuant to division (B) of this section, the administrator shall calculate an employer's premium for other-states' coverage provided through the administrator separately from calculating any other premiums or assessments charged under this chapter or Chapter 4121., 4127., or 4131. of the Revised Code. The administrator shall calculate the employer's other-states' coverage premium in the same manner the administrator calculates an employer's premium for the state insurance fund pursuant to division (A) of section 4123.29 and section 4123.34 of the Revised Code, except that, when calculating the employer's premium for other-states' coverage under this division, the administrator shall do all of the following:

(1) Base the employer's other-states' coverage premium on the terms specified in the contract the administrator enters into with an insurance company pursuant to division (B) of this section;

(2) When determining the expenditure of wages, payroll, or both upon which to base the employer's other-states' coverage premium, use only the amount of wages, payroll, or both the employer paid to the employer's employees for performing labor or providing services for the employer in a state or states other than this state;

(3) Not take into account the amount of wages, payroll, or both the employer paid to the employer's employees for performing labor or providing services for the employer in this state or any compensation or benefits paid for claims covered by the state insurance fund.

(D) If the administrator elects to secure other states' coverage, the administrator, with the advice and consent of the board, shall adopt rules to implement divisions (B) and (C) of this section.

(E) An other-states' insurer that provides other-states' coverage to an employer pursuant to this section shall do all of the following when calculating the employer's premium for that coverage:

(1) When determining the amount of wages, payroll, or both upon which to base the employer's premium, use only the amount of wages, payroll, or both the employer paid to the employer's employees for performing labor or providing services for the employer in a state or states other than this state;

(2) Not take into account the amount of wages, payroll, or both the employer paid to the employer's employees for performing labor or providing services for the employer in this state or any compensation or benefits paid for claims otherwise covered by this chapter or Chapter 4121., 4127., or 4131. of the Revised Code;

(3) Take into account any other factors the other-states' insurer uses to calculate premiums for workers' compensation insurance.

(F) The board and the individual members thereof, the administrator, and the bureau of workers' compensation shall not incur any obligation or liability if another state determines that the other-states' coverage provided under this section does not satisfy the requirements specified in that state's workers' compensation law for obtaining workers' compensation coverage in that state.

Sec. 4123.34.  It shall be the duty of the bureau of workers' compensation board of directors and the administrator of workers' compensation to safeguard and maintain the solvency of the state insurance fund and all other funds specified in this chapter and Chapters 4121., 4127., and 4131. of the Revised Code. The administrator, in the exercise of the powers and discretion conferred upon the administrator in section 4123.29 of the Revised Code, shall fix and maintain, with the advice and consent of the board, for each class of occupation or industry, the lowest possible rates of premium consistent with the maintenance of a solvent state insurance fund and the creation and maintenance of a reasonable surplus, after the payment of legitimate claims for injury, occupational disease, and death that the administrator authorizes to be paid from the state insurance fund for the benefit of injured, diseased, and the dependents of killed employees. In establishing rates, the administrator shall take into account the necessity of ensuring sufficient money is set aside in the premium payment security fund to cover any defaults in premium obligations. The administrator shall observe all of the following requirements in fixing the rates of premium for the risks of occupations or industries:

(A) The administrator shall keep an accurate account of the money paid in premiums by each of the several classes of occupations or industries, and the losses on account of injuries, occupational disease, and death of employees thereof, and also keep an account of the money received from each individual employer and the amount of losses incurred against the state insurance fund on account of injuries, occupational disease, and death of the employees of the employer.

(B) Ten per cent of the money paid into the state insurance fund shall be set aside for the creation of a surplus until the surplus amounts to the sum of one hundred thousand dollars, after which time, whenever necessary in the judgment of the administrator to guarantee a solvent state insurance fund, a sum not exceeding five per cent of all the money paid into the state insurance fund shall be credited to the surplus fund. In addition to all statutory authority under this chapter and Chapter 4121. of the Revised Code, the administrator has discretionary and contingency authority to make charges to surplus. The administrator shall account for all charges, whether statutory, discretionary, or contingency, that the administrator may make to surplus. A revision of basic rates shall be made annually on the first day of July.

Notwithstanding any provision of the law to the contrary, one hundred eighty days after the effective date on which self-insuring employers first may elect under division (D) of section 4121.66 of the Revised Code to directly pay for rehabilitation expenses, the administrator shall calculate the deficit, if any, in the portion of surplus fund that is used for reimbursement to self-insuring employers for all expenses other than handicapped reimbursement under section 4123.343 of the Revised Code. The administrator, from time to time, may determine whether the surplus fund has such a deficit and may assess all self-insuring employers who participated in the portion of the surplus fund during the accrual of the deficit and who during that time period have not made the election under division (D) of section 4121.66 of the Revised Code the amount the administrator determines necessary to reduce the deficit.

Revisions of basic rates shall be in accordance with the oldest four of the last five calendar years of the combined accident and occupational disease experience of the administrator in the administration of this chapter, as shown by the accounts kept as provided in this section, excluding the experience of employers that are no longer active if the administrator determines that the inclusion of those employers would have a significant negative impact on the remainder of the employers in a particular manual classification; and the administrator shall adopt rules, with the advice and consent of the board, governing rate revisions, the object of which shall be to make an equitable distribution of losses among the several classes of occupation or industry, which rules shall be general in their application.

(C) The administrator may apply that form of rating system that the administrator finds is best calculated to merit rate or individually rate the risk more equitably, predicated upon the basis of its individual industrial accident and occupational disease experience, and may encourage and stimulate accident prevention. The administrator shall develop fixed and equitable rules controlling the rating system, which rules shall conserve to each risk the basic principles of workers' compensation insurance.

(D) The administrator, from the money paid into the state insurance fund, shall set aside into an account of the state insurance fund titled a premium payment security fund sufficient money to pay for any premiums due from an employer and uncollected that are in excess of the employer's premium security deposit.

The fund shall be in the custody of the treasurer of state. All investment earnings of the fund shall be deposited in the fund. Disbursements from the fund shall be made by the bureau of workers' compensation upon order of the administrator to the state insurance fund. The use of the moneys held by the premium payment security fund is restricted to reimbursement to the state insurance fund of premiums due and uncollected in excess of an employer's premium security deposit. The moneys constituting the premium payment security fund shall be maintained without regard to or reliance upon any other fund. This section does not prevent the deposit or investment of the premium payment security fund with any other fund created by this chapter, but the premium payment security fund is separate and distinct for every other purpose and a strict accounting thereof shall be maintained.

(E) The administrator may grant discounts on premium rates for employers who meet either of the following requirements:

(1) Have not incurred a compensable injury for one year or more and who maintain an employee safety committee or similar organization or make periodic safety inspections of the workplace.

(2) Successfully complete a loss prevention program prescribed by the superintendent of the division of safety and hygiene and conducted by the division or by any other person approved by the superintendent.

(F)(1) In determining the premium rates for the construction industry the administrator shall calculate the employers' premiums based upon the actual remuneration construction industry employees receive from construction industry employers, provided that the amount of remuneration the administrator uses in calculating the premiums shall not exceed an average weekly wage equal to one hundred fifty per cent of the statewide average weekly wage as defined in division (C) of section 4123.62 of the Revised Code.

(2) Division (F)(1) of this section shall not be construed as affecting the manner in which benefits to a claimant are awarded under this chapter.

(3) As used in division (F) of this section, "construction industry" includes any activity performed in connection with the erection, alteration, repair, replacement, renovation, installation, or demolition of any building, structure, highway, or bridge.

Sec. 4123.51.  The administrator of workers' compensation shall by published notices and other appropriate means endeavor to cause claims to be filed in the service office of the bureau of workers' compensation from which the investigation and determination of the claim may be made most expeditiously. A claim or appeal under this chapter or Chapter 4121., 4127., or 4131. of the Revised Code may be filed with any office of the bureau of workers' compensation or the industrial commission, within the required statutory period, and is considered received for the purpose of processing the claims or appeals.

The administrator, on the form an employee or an individual acting on behalf of the employee files with the administrator or a self-insuring employer to initiate a claim under this chapter or Chapter 4121., 4127., or 4131. of the Revised Code, shall include a statement that is substantially similar to the following statement in bold font and set apart from all other text in the form:

"By signing this form, I elect to only receive compensation, benefits, or both that are provided for in this claim under Ohio's workers' compensation laws. I understand and I hereby waive and release my right to receive compensation and benefits under the workers' compensation laws of another state for the injury or occupational disease, or the death resulting from an injury or occupational disease, for which I am filing this claim. I have not received compensation and benefits under the workers' compensation laws of another state for this claim, and I will not file and have not filed a claim in another state for the injury or occupational disease or death resulting from an injury or occupational disease for which I am filing this claim."

Sec. 4123.54.  (A) Every employee, who is injured or who contracts an occupational disease, and the dependents of each employee who is killed, or dies as the result of an occupational disease contracted in the course of employment, wherever such injury has occurred or occupational disease has been contracted, provided the same were not:

(1) Purposely self-inflicted; or

(2) Caused by the employee being intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance not prescribed by a physician where the intoxication or being under the influence of the controlled substance not prescribed by a physician was the proximate cause of the injury, is entitled to receive, either directly from the employee's self-insuring employer as provided in section 4123.35 of the Revised Code, or from the state insurance fund, the compensation for loss sustained on account of the injury, occupational disease, or death, and the medical, nurse, and hospital services and medicines, and the amount of funeral expenses in case of death, as are provided by this chapter.

(B) For the purpose of this section, provided that an employer has posted written notice to employees that the results of, or the employee's refusal to submit to, any chemical test described under this division may affect the employee's eligibility for compensation and benefits pursuant to this chapter and Chapter 4121. of the Revised Code, there is a rebuttable presumption that an employee is intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance not prescribed by the employee's physician and that being intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance not prescribed by the employee's physician is the proximate cause of an injury under either of the following conditions:

(1) When any one or more of the following is true:

(a) The employee, through a qualifying chemical test administered within eight hours of an injury, is determined to have an alcohol concentration level equal to or in excess of the levels established in divisions (A)(1)(b) to (i) of section 4511.19 of the Revised Code;

(b) The employee, through a qualifying chemical test administered within thirty-two hours of an injury, is determined to have one of the following controlled substances not prescribed by the employee's physician in the employee's system that tests above the following levels in an enzyme multiplied immunoassay technique screening test and above the levels established in division (B)(1)(c) of this section in a gas chromatography mass spectrometry test:

(i) For amphetamines, one thousand nanograms per milliliter of urine;

(ii) For cannabinoids, fifty nanograms per milliliter of urine;

(iii) For cocaine, including crack cocaine, three hundred nanograms per milliliter of urine;

(iv) For opiates, two thousand nanograms per milliliter of urine;

(v) For phencyclidine, twenty-five nanograms per milliliter of urine.

(c) The employee, through a qualifying chemical test administered within thirty-two hours of an injury, is determined to have one of the following controlled substances not prescribed by the employee's physician in the employee's system that tests above the following levels by a gas chromatography mass spectrometry test:

(i) For amphetamines, five hundred nanograms per milliliter of urine;

(ii) For cannabinoids, fifteen nanograms per milliliter of urine;

(iii) For cocaine, including crack cocaine, one hundred fifty nanograms per milliliter of urine;

(iv) For opiates, two thousand nanograms per milliliter of urine;

(v) For phencyclidine, twenty-five nanograms per milliliter of urine.

(d) The employee, through a qualifying chemical test administered within thirty-two hours of an injury, is determined to have barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone, or propoxyphene in the employee's system that tests above levels established by laboratories certified by the United States department of health and human services.

(2) When the employee refuses to submit to a requested chemical test, on the condition that that employee is or was given notice that the refusal to submit to any chemical test described in division (B)(1) of this section may affect the employee's eligibility for compensation and benefits under this chapter and Chapter 4121. of the Revised Code.

(C)(1) For purposes of division (B) of this section, a chemical test is a qualifying chemical test if it is administered to an employee after an injury under at least one of the following conditions:

(a) When the employee's employer had reasonable cause to suspect that the employee may be intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance not prescribed by the employee's physician;

(b) At the request of a police officer pursuant to section 4511.191 of the Revised Code, and not at the request of the employee's employer;

(c) At the request of a licensed physician who is not employed by the employee's employer, and not at the request of the employee's employer.

(2) As used in division (C)(1)(a) of this section, "reasonable cause" means, but is not limited to, evidence that an employee is or was using alcohol or a controlled substance drawn from specific, objective facts and reasonable inferences drawn from these facts in light of experience and training. These facts and inferences may be based on, but are not limited to, any of the following:

(a) Observable phenomena, such as direct observation of use, possession, or distribution of alcohol or a controlled substance, or of the physical symptoms of being under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, such as but not limited to slurred speech, dilated pupils, odor of alcohol or a controlled substance, changes in affect, or dynamic mood swings;

(b) A pattern of abnormal conduct, erratic or aberrant behavior, or deteriorating work performance such as frequent absenteeism, excessive tardiness, or recurrent accidents, that appears to be related to the use of alcohol or a controlled substance, and does not appear to be attributable to other factors;

(c) The identification of an employee as the focus of a criminal investigation into unauthorized possession, use, or trafficking of a controlled substance;

(d) A report of use of alcohol or a controlled substance provided by a reliable and credible source;

(e) Repeated or flagrant violations of the safety or work rules of the employee's employer, that are determined by the employee's supervisor to pose a substantial risk of physical injury or property damage and that appear to be related to the use of alcohol or a controlled substance and that do not appear attributable to other factors.

(D) Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect the rights of an employer to test employees for alcohol or controlled substance abuse.

(E) For the purpose of this section, laboratories certified by the United States department of health and human services or laboratories that meet or exceed the standards of that department for laboratory certification shall be used for processing the test results of a qualifying chemical test.

(F) The written notice required by division (B) of this section shall be the same size or larger then the certificate of premium payment notice furnished by the bureau of workers' compensation and shall be posted by the employer in the same location as the certificate of premium payment notice or the certificate of self-insurance.

(G) If a condition that pre-existed an injury is substantially aggravated by the injury, and that substantial aggravation is documented by objective diagnostic findings, objective clinical findings, or objective test results, no compensation or benefits are payable because of the pre-existing condition once that condition has returned to a level that would have existed without the injury.

(H)(1) Whenever, with respect to an employee of an employer who is subject to and has complied with this chapter, there is possibility of conflict with respect to the application of workers' compensation laws because the contract of employment is entered into and all or some portion of the work is or is to be performed in a state or states other than Ohio, the employer and the employee may agree to be bound by the laws of this state or by the laws of some other state in which all or some portion of the work of the employee is to be performed. The agreement shall be in writing and shall be filed with the bureau of workers' compensation within ten days after it is executed and shall remain in force until terminated or modified by agreement of the parties similarly filed. If the agreement is to be bound by the laws of this state and the employer has complied with this chapter, then the employee is entitled to compensation and benefits regardless of where the injury occurs or the disease is contracted and the rights of the employee and the employee's dependents under the laws of this state are the exclusive remedy against the employer on account of injury, disease, or death in the course of and arising out of the employee's employment. If the agreement is to be bound by the laws of another state and the employer has complied with the laws of that state, the rights of the employee and the employee's dependents under the laws of that state are the exclusive remedy against the employer on account of injury, disease, or death in the course of and arising out of the employee's employment without regard to the place where the injury was sustained or the disease contracted. If an employer and an employee enter into an agreement under this division, the fact that the employer and the employee entered into that agreement shall not be construed to change the status of an employee whose continued employment is subject to the will of the employer or the employee, unless the agreement contains a provision that expressly changes that status.

(2) If any employee or the employee's dependents are awarded pursue workers' compensation benefits or recover damages from the employer under the laws of another state, the amount awarded or recovered, whether paid or to be paid in future installments, shall be credited on the amount of any award of compensation or benefits made to the employee or the employee's dependents by the bureau. If an employee or the employee's dependents pursue or receive an award of compensation or benefits under this chapter or Chapter 4121., 4127., or 4131. of the Revised Code for the same injury, occupational disease, or death for which the employee or the employee's dependents pursued workers' compensation benefits and received a decision on the merits as defined in section 4123.542 of the Revised Code under the laws of another state or recovered damages under the laws of another state, the administrator or any employer, by any lawful means, may collect the amount of compensation or benefits paid to or on behalf of the employee or the employee's dependents by the administrator or a self-insuring employer pursuant to this chapter or Chapter 4121., 4127., or 4131. of the Revised Code for that award. The administrator or any employer also may collect from the employee or the employee's dependents any costs and attorney's fees the administrator or the employer incurs in collecting that payment and any attorney's fees, penalties, interest, awards, and costs incurred by an employer in contesting or responding to any claim filed by the employee or the employee's dependents for the same injury, occupational disease, or death that was filed after the original claim for which the employee or the employee's dependents received a decision on the merits as described in section 4123.542 of the Revised Code. If the employee's employer pays premiums into the state insurance fund, the administrator shall not charge the amount of compensation or benefits the administrator collects pursuant to this division to the employer's experience. If the administrator collects any costs, penalties, interest, awards, or attorney's fees incurred by a state fund employer, the administrator shall forward the amount of such costs, penalties, interest, awards, and attorney's fees the administrator collects to that employer. If the employee's employer is a self-insuring employer, the self-insuring employer shall deduct the amount of compensation or benefits the self-insuring employer collects pursuant to this division from the paid compensation the self-insuring employer reports to the administrator under division (L) of section 4123.35 of the Revised Code.

If (3) Except as otherwise stipulated in division (H)(4) of this section, if an employee is a resident of a state other than this state and is insured under the workers' compensation law or similar laws of a state other than this state, the employee and the employee's dependents are not entitled to receive compensation or benefits under this chapter, on account of injury, disease, or death arising out of or in the course of employment while temporarily within this state, and the rights of the employee and the employee's dependents under the laws of the other state are the exclusive remedy against the employer on account of the injury, disease, or death.

(4) Division (H)(3) of this section does not apply to an employee described in that division, or the employee's dependents, unless both of the following apply:

(a) The laws of the other state limit the ability of an employee who is a resident of this state and is covered by this chapter and Chapter 4123. of the Revised Code, or the employee's dependents, to receive compensation or benefits under the other state's workers' compensation law on account of injury, disease, or death incurred by the employee that arises out of or in the course of the employee's employment while temporarily within that state in the same manner as specified in division (H)(3) of this section for an employee who is a resident of a state other than this state, or the employee's dependents;

(b) The laws of the other state limit the liability of the employer of the employee who is a resident of this state and who is described in division (H)(4)(a) of this section for that injury, disease, or death, in the same manner specified in division (H)(3) of this section for the employer of an employee who is a resident of the other state.

(5) An employee, or the dependent of an employee, who elects to receive compensation and benefits under this chapter or Chapter 4121., 4127., or 4131. of the Revised Code for a claim may not receive compensation and benefits under the workers' compensation laws of any state other than this state for that same claim. For each claim submitted by or on behalf of an employee, the administrator or, if the employee is employed by a self-insuring employer, the self-insuring employer shall request the employee or the employee's dependent to sign an election that affirms the employee's or employee's dependent's acceptance of electing to receive compensation and benefits under this chapter or Chapter 4121., 4127., or 4131. of the Revised Code for that claim that also affirmatively waives and releases the employee's or the employee's dependent's right to file for and receive compensation and benefits under the laws of any state other than this state for that claim. The employee or employee's dependent shall sign the election form within twenty-eight days after the administrator or self-insuring employer submits the request or the administrator or self-insuring employer shall suspend that claim until the administrator or self-insuring employer receives the signed election form.

(I) Compensation or benefits are not payable to a claimant during the period of confinement of the claimant in any state or federal correctional institution, or in any county jail in lieu of incarceration in a state or federal correctional institution, whether in this or any other state for conviction of violation of any state or federal criminal law.

Sec. 4123.542. An employee or the dependents of an employee who receive a decision on the merits of a claim for compensation or benefits under this chapter or Chapter 4121., 4127., or 4131. of the Revised Code shall not file a claim for the same injury, occupational disease, or death in another state under the workers' compensation laws of that state. An employee or the employee's dependents who receive a decision on the merits of a claim for compensation or benefits under the workers' compensation laws of another state shall not file a claim for compensation and benefits under this chapter or Chapter 4121., 4127., or 4131. of the Revised Code for the same injury, occupational disease, or death.

As used in this section, "a decision on the merits" means a decision determined or adjudicated for compensability of a claim and not on jurisdictional grounds.

Sec. 4123.82.  (A) All contracts and agreements are void which undertake to indemnify or insure an employer against loss or liability for the payment of compensation to workers or their dependents for death, injury, or occupational disease occasioned in the course of the workers' employment, or which provide that the insurer shall pay the compensation, or which indemnify the employer against damages when the injury, disease, or death arises from the failure to comply with any lawful requirement for the protection of the lives, health, and safety of employees, or when the same is occasioned by the willful act of the employer or any of the employer's officers or agents, or by which it is agreed that the insurer shall pay any such damages. No license or authority to enter into any such agreements or issue any such policies of insurance shall be granted or issued by any public authority in this state. Any corporation organized or admitted under the laws of this state to transact liability insurance as defined in section 3929.01 of the Revised Code may by amendment of its articles of incorporation or by original articles of incorporation, provide therein for the authority and purpose to make insurance in states, territories, districts, and counties, other than the state of Ohio, and in the state of Ohio in respect of contracts permitted by division (B) of this section, indemnifying employers against loss or liability for payment of compensation to workers and employees and their dependents for death, injury, or occupational disease occasioned in the course of the employment and to insure and indemnify employers against loss, expense, and liability by risk of bodily injury or death by accident, disability, sickness, or disease suffered by workers and employees for which the employer may be liable or has assumed liability.

(B) Notwithstanding division (A) of this section:

(1) No contract because of that division is void which undertakes to indemnify a self-insuring employer against all or part of such employer's loss in excess of at least fifty thousand dollars from any one disaster or event arising out of the employer's liability under this chapter, but no insurance corporation shall, directly or indirectly, represent an employer in the settlement, adjudication, determination, allowance, or payment of claims. The superintendent of insurance shall enforce this prohibition by such disciplinary orders directed against the offending insurance corporation as the superintendent of insurance deems appropriate in the circumstances and the administrator of workers' compensation shall enforce this prohibition by such disciplinary orders directed against the offending employer as the administrator deems appropriate in the circumstances, which orders may include revocation of the insurance corporation's right to enter into indemnity contracts and revocation of the employer's status as a self-insuring employer.

(2) The administrator may enter into a contract of indemnity with any such employer upon such terms, payment of such premium, and for such amount and form of indemnity as the administrator determines and the bureau of workers' compensation board of directors may procure reinsurance of the liability of the public and private funds under this chapter, or any part of the liability in respect of either or both of the funds, upon such terms and premiums or other payments from the fund or funds as the administrator deems prudent in the maintenance of a solvent fund or funds from year to year. When making the finding of fact which the administrator is required by section 4123.35 of the Revised Code to make with respect to the financial ability of an employer, no contract of indemnity, or the ability of the employer to procure such a contract, shall be considered as increasing the financial ability of the employer.

(C) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the administrator or an other-states' insurer from providing to employers in this state other-states' coverage in accordance with section 4123.292 of the Revised Code.

Sec. 4123.88.  (A) No person shall orally or in writing, directly or indirectly, or through any agent or other person fraudulently hold the person's self out or represent the person's self or any of the person's partners or associates as authorized by a claimant or employer to take charge of, or represent the claimant or employer in respect of, any claim or matter in connection therewith before the bureau of workers' compensation or the industrial commission or its district or staff hearing officers. No person shall directly or indirectly solicit authority, or pay or give anything of value to another person to solicit authority, or accept or receive pay or anything of value from another person for soliciting authority, from a claimant or employer to take charge of, or represent the claimant or employer in respect of, any claim or appeal which is or may be filed with the bureau or commission. No person shall, without prior authority from the bureau, a member of the commission, the claimant, or the employer, examine or directly or indirectly cause or employ another person to examine any claim file or any other file pertaining thereto. No person shall forge an authorization for the purpose of examining or cause another person to examine any such file. No district or staff hearing officer or other employee of the bureau or commission, notwithstanding the provisions of section 4123.27 of the Revised Code, shall divulge any information in respect of any claim or appeal which is or may be filed with a district or staff hearing officer, the bureau, or commission to any person other than members of the commission or to the superior of the employee except upon authorization of the administrator of workers' compensation or a member of the commission or upon authorization of the claimant or employer.

(B) The records described or referred to in division (A) of this section are not public records as defined in division (A)(1) of section 149.43 of the Revised Code. Any information directly or indirectly identifying the address or telephone number of a claimant, regardless of whether the claimant's claim is active or closed, is not a public record. No person shall solicit or obtain any such information from any such employee without first having obtained an authorization therefor as provided in this section.

(C) Except as otherwise specified in division (D) of this section, information kept by the commission or the bureau pursuant to this section is for the exclusive use and information of the commission and the bureau in the discharge of their official duties, and shall not be open to the public nor be used in any court in any action or proceeding pending therein, unless the commission or the bureau is a party to the action or proceeding. The information, however, may be tabulated and published by the commission or the bureau in statistical form for the use and information of other state agencies and the public.

(D)(1) Upon receiving a written request made and signed by an individual whose primary occupation is as a journalist, the commission or the bureau shall disclose to the journalist individual the address or addresses and telephone number or numbers of claimants, regardless of whether their claims are active or closed, and the dependents of those claimants.

(2) A journalist An individual described in division (D)(1) of this section is permitted to request the information described in that division (D)(1) of this section for multiple workers or dependents in one written request.

(3) A journalist An individual described in division (D)(1) of this section shall include all of the following in the written request:

(a) The journalist's individual's name, title, and signature;

(b) The name and title of the journalist's individual's employer;

(c) A statement that the disclosure of the information sought is in the public interest.

(4) Neither the commission nor the bureau may inquire as to the specific public interest served by the disclosure of information requested by a journalist an individual under division (D) of this section.

(E) As used in this section, "journalist" has the same meaning as in division (B)(9) of section 149.43 of the Revised Code.

SECTION 2. That existing sections 4123.01, 4123.26, 4123.29, 4123.34, 4123.51, 4123.54, 4123.82, and 4123.88 of the Revised Code are hereby repealed.

SECTION 3. This act applies to all claims pursuant to Chapters 4121., 4123., 4127., and 4131. of the Revised Code arising on and after the effective date of this act.

SECTION 4. In the case of any institution of higher education that has sustained claims arising from deaths and injuries of a catastrophic nature arising from a motor vehicle accident occurring outside of this state, the Administrator of Workers' Compensation shall suspend the imposition of any premium increase or any change in the experience of such an institution of higher education until after the conclusion of any subrogation claims that are brought by the Administrator in relation to those deaths and injuries.

SECTION 5. Notwithstanding division (A) of section 4121.78 of the Revised Code, any legislation proposing to make changes to Chapters 4121., 4123., 4125., 4127., and 4131. of the Revised Code that is enacted by the General Assembly on or before June 30, 2008, shall not be subject to the requirement of the Workers' Compensation Council to study all changes to those chapters and to report to the General Assembly on their probable costs, actuarial implications, and desirability as a matter of public policy.

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