4123.343 Employing and retaining handicapped employees.

This section shall be construed liberally to the end that employers shall be encouraged to employ and retain in their employment handicapped employees as defined in this section.

(A) As used in this section, "handicapped employee" means an employee who is afflicted with or subject to any physical or mental impairment, or both, whether congenital or due to an injury or disease of such character that the impairment constitutes a handicap in obtaining employment or would constitute a handicap in obtaining reemployment if the employee should become unemployed and whose handicap is due to any of the following diseases or conditions:

(1) Epilepsy;

(2) Diabetes;

(3) Cardiac disease;

(4) Arthritis;

(5) Amputated foot, leg, arm, or hand;

(6) Loss of sight of one or both eyes or a partial loss of uncorrected vision of more than seventy-five per cent bilaterally;

(7) Residual disability from poliomyelitis;

(8) Cerebral palsy;

(9) Multiple sclerosis;

(10) Parkinson's disease;

(11) Cerebral vascular accident;

(12) Tuberculosis;

(13) Silicosis;

(14) Psycho-neurotic disability following treatment in a recognized medical or mental institution;

(15) Hemophilia;

(16) Chronic osteomyelitis;

(17) Ankylosis of joints;

(18) Hyper insulinism;

(19) Muscular dystrophies;

(20) Arterio-sclerosis;

(21) Thrombo-phlebitis;

(22) Varicose veins;

(23) Cardiovascular, pulmonary, or respiratory diseases of a firefighter or police officer employed by a municipal corporation or township as a regular member of a lawfully constituted police department or fire department;

(24) Coal miners' pneumoconiosis, commonly referred to as "black lung disease";

(25) Disability with respect to which an individual has completed a rehabilitation program conducted pursuant to sections 4121.61 to 4121.69 of the Revised Code.

(B) Under the circumstances set forth in this section all or such portion as the administrator determines of the compensation and benefits paid in any claim arising hereafter shall be charged to and paid from the statutory surplus fund created under section 4123.34 of the Revised Code and only the portion remaining shall be merit-rated or otherwise treated as part of the accident or occupational disease experience of the employer. If the employer is a self-insuring employer, the proportion of such costs whether charged to the statutory surplus fund in whole or in part shall be by way of direct payment to such employee or the employee's dependents or by way of reimbursement to the self-insuring employer as the circumstances indicate. The provisions of this section apply only in cases of death, total disability, whether temporary or permanent, and all disabilities compensated under division (B) of section 4123.57 of the Revised Code. The administrator shall adopt rules specifying the grounds upon which charges to the statutory surplus fund are to be made. The rules shall prohibit as a grounds any agreement between employer and claimant as to the merits of a claim and the amount of the charge.

(C) Any employer who has in its employ a handicapped employee is entitled, in the event the person is injured, to a determination under this section.

An employer shall file an application under this section for a determination with the bureau or commission in the same manner as other claims. An application only may be made in cases where a handicapped employee or a handicapped employee's dependents claim or is receiving an award of compensation as a result of an injury or occupational disease occurring or contracted on or after the date on which division (A) of this section first included the handicap of such employee.

(D) The circumstances under and the manner in which an apportionment under this section shall be made are:

(1) Whenever a handicapped employee is injured or disabled or dies as the result of an injury or occupational disease sustained in the course of and arising out of a handicapped employee's employment in this state and the administrator awards compensation therefor and when it appears to the satisfaction of the administrator that the injury or occupational disease or the death resulting therefrom would not have occurred but for the pre-existing physical or mental impairment of the handicapped employee, all compensation and benefits payable on account of the disability or death shall be paid from the surplus fund.

(2) Whenever a handicapped employee is injured or disabled or dies as a result of an injury or occupational disease and the administrator finds that the injury or occupational disease would have been sustained or suffered without regard to the employee's pre-existing impairment but that the resulting disability or death was caused at least in part through aggravation of the employee's pre-existing disability, the administrator shall determine in a manner that is equitable and reasonable and based upon medical evidence the amount of disability or proportion of the cost of the death award that is attributable to the employee's pre-existing disability and the amount found shall be charged to the statutory surplus fund.

(E) The benefits and provisions of this section apply only to employers who have complied with this chapter either through insurance with the state fund or as a self-insuring employer.

(F) No employer shall in any year receive credit under this section in an amount greater than the premium the employer paid if a state fund employer or greater than the employer's assessments if a self-insuring employer.

(G) Self-insuring employers may, for all claims made after January 1, 1987, for compensation and benefits under this section, pay the compensation and benefits directly to the employee or the employee's dependents. If such an employer chooses to pay compensation and benefits directly, the employer shall receive no money or credit from the surplus fund for the payment under this section, nor shall the employer be required to pay any amounts into the surplus fund that otherwise would be assessed for handicapped reimbursements for claims made after January 1, 1987. Where a self-insuring employer elects to pay for compensation and benefits pursuant to this section, the employer shall assume responsibility for compensation and benefits arising out of claims made prior to January 1, 1987, and shall not be required to pay any amounts into the surplus fund and may not receive any money or credit from that fund on account of this section. The election made under this division is irrevocable.

(H) An order issued by the administrator pursuant to this section is appealable under section 4123.511 of the Revised Code but is not appealable to court under section 4123.512 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 4123.343

History. Effective Date: 08-06-1999