The Ohio Workers’ Compensation System
The Ohio workers’ compensation system can be confusing. Our learn about pages provide basic information about the Ohio workers’ compensation system. You can find out more about the system from our Ohio Workers’ Compensation Guide or our explanation of Ohio workers’ compensation terms.
Learn about the Ohio workers’ compensation system:
- two agencies administer the Ohio workers’ compensation system: the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) and the Ohio Industrial Commission;
- Ohio originally had a voluntary workers’ compensation system, adopted in 1911. Because of the voluntary workers’ compensation law, the state insurance fund came into existence in 1912, before the creation of the current system.
- Ohio adopted the current, mandatory, workers’ compensation system when the people of Ohio voted to amend the Ohio Constitution with Article II, Section 35 which authorized a compulsory workers’ compensation system;
- the governor of Ohio signed the law creating the Industrial Commission on March 14, 1913. Initially, the Industrial Commission both administered workers’ compensation claims and made decisions about contested issues in claims;
- in 1955, the legislature split the administrative duties from the decision-making function. Now, the BWC administers workers’ compensation claims and the Industrial Commission decides contested issues;
- the Governor appoints an Administrator to run the BWC and three members to the Industrial Commission. The Industrial Commission sets the Industrial Commission’s policy. One of these members represents the public, one member represents employers and one member represents employees;
- the BWC only administers workers’ compensation claims for state fund employers. State fund employers pay a premium to the state insurance fund, and then the fund pays workers’ compensation benefits for their injured workers;
- self-insured employers do not pay workers’ compensation premiums. They pay all workers’ compensation benefits directly and administer their own workers’ compensation claims;
- the Industrial Commission decides disputed issues for all workers’ compensation claims, whether from a state fund employer or a self-insured employer. References to the Industrial Commission can be confusing, because both the agency and the three member board which runs the agency are referred to as the Industrial Commission.