4167.19 Application for exemption from program.

(A) A public employer, other than a state agency, may apply to the administrator of workers' compensation for an order exempting the public employer from compliance with this chapter, except as provided in division (K) of this section, if the public employer satisfies both of the following criteria:

(1) The public employer is a member of a group that qualifies for a group rating plan pursuant to division (A)(4) of section 4123.29 of the Revised Code or the public employer's premium rate is at least fifty per cent less than the base rate for its workers' compensation premiums;

(2) The public employer establishes and maintains a safety committee with both public employees and representatives of the public employer as members if the public employer does not qualify for a group rating plan. A public employer that employs five or fewer public employees need not have a safety committee.

(B) The application shall be on a form prescribed by the administrator and shall be transmitted to the administrator by certified mail, return receipt requested. The application shall contain a certification of all of the following:

(1) The public employer has adopted an ordinance or resolution requesting an exemption from this chapter;

(2) At least ten working days prior to passage of an ordinance or resolution described in division (B)(1) of this section, the public employer has informed its public employees of the application by giving a copy of the application to the public employee representative, if any;

(3) The public employer has informed its public employees by posting a statement for thirty consecutive days giving a summary of the application and specifying where a copy of the application may be examined at the place or places where notices to public employees are normally posted, and by any other appropriate means of public employee notification;

(4) The public employer has informed its public employees of their rights to a hearing under section 4167.15 of the Revised Code.

The certification also shall contain a description of how public employees have been informed of the application and of their rights to a hearing.

(C) Except as provided in this section, the administrator shall issue an order providing for an exemption if the public employer meets the requirements of division (A) of this section and files an application that meets the requirements of division (B) of this section.

(D) The administrator shall not grant an exemption under division (C) of this section until after the superintendent of the division of safety and hygiene in the bureau of workers' compensation conducts an employment risk reduction inspection of the public employer's place of employment to determine the presence of any hazardous or unsafe conditions. The administrator shall not cite the public employer for a violation of this chapter during this inspection.

(E) The superintendent shall provide a copy of the report of the inspection conducted pursuant to division (D) of this section and any findings to the public employer. Within six months after receipt of the report, the public employer shall submit the report to the administrator, if the public employer wishes to proceed with the exemption request. If the report does not contain a description of any hazardous or unsafe conditions, the administrator shall grant the public employer an exemption from this chapter, except as provided in division (K) of this section. If the report contains a description of any hazardous or unsafe conditions, the public employer shall submit to the administrator a plan that describes how it intends to remedy, within a one-year period of time, the hazardous or unsafe conditions.

Within thirty days after receipt of the plan from the public employer, the administrator may approve or disapprove the plan as submitted. If the administrator approves the plan as submitted, the administrator shall grant the public employer an exemption from this chapter, except as provided in division (K) of this section.

If the administrator disapproves the plan, the administrator shall return it and the reasons for its rejection to the public employer. The public employer may submit a revised plan, which corrects the deficiencies for which the original plan was rejected, within thirty days after receipt of the disapproved plan from the administrator. The administrator has thirty days after receipt of the revised plan to review it, and if it remedies the administrator's objections, to approve it and grant the exemption. The public employer shall be exempted from this chapter, except as provided in division (K) of this section, if the administrator fails to act within the thirty-day period.

(F) Within ten working days after completing implementation of the plan, the public employer shall certify to the administrator, by certified mail, return receipt requested, that the hazardous or unsafe conditions have been abated.

If a public employer fails to complete the plan within the one-year period of time, the administrator may do either of the following:

(1) Terminate the exemption;

(2) Grant to the public employer a sixty-day extension to the one-year period of time, provided that the administrator determines that the public employer is making significant progress in completing implementation of the plan.

The administrator shall terminate the exemption of a public employer who does not complete implementation of the plan within the sixty-day extension granted by the administrator under division (F)(2) of this section.

(G) The administrator shall inspect a public employer's place of employment immediately after either of the following occur:

(1) A public employee of the public employer is killed due to an incident that is related to the public employee's employment;

(2) Three or more public employees of the public employer are hospitalized due to an incident that is related to the public employees' employment.

After reviewing the inspection report, the administrator may require the public employer to submit to the administrator, within a reasonable amount of time as determined by the administrator, a plan that describes how the public employer intends to remedy any conditions described in the report that the administrator determines need to be remedied.

Nothing in this division constitutes the granting of a new exemption for purposes of determining the seven-year expiration date pursuant to division (H) of this section.

(H) Except as provided in division (F) of this section, an exemption granted pursuant to this section expires seven years after the date of its issuance. A public employer may apply for a subsequent exemption in the same manner provided in this section for the grant of an original exemption.

(I) Each public employer granted an exemption under this section may request the superintendent of the division of safety and hygiene in the bureau of workers' compensation to conduct a safety inspection of the public employer's place of employment any time during the exemption period. Based on this inspection, the superintendent shall note any hazards or unsafe conditions and recommend abatement of these hazards and unsafe conditions. The superintendent shall provide a copy of the report of the inspection conducted pursuant to this division and any resulting recommendations to the public employer. The administrator shall not cite the public employer for a violation of this chapter due to a hazardous or unsafe condition identified by the superintendent pursuant to this inspection.

(J) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a public employer who meets the requirements of division (A) of this section and files an application that meets the requirements of division (B) of this section is not subject to this chapter, except section 4167.06 of the Revised Code and division (G) of this section, after the date on which the public employer meets the requirements of division (A) of this section and files an application that meets the requirements of division (B) of this section until the administrator determines whether to grant the exemption under this section.

(K) Nothing in this section limits, or shall be construed as limiting, a public employee's rights as provided in section 4167.06 of the Revised Code. Nothing in this section limits, or shall be construed as limiting, a public employer's right to adopt reasonable safety rules and require a public employee's compliance with those rules.

A public employer who is granted an exemption under this section shall not be exempt from divisions (G), (H), and (I) of this section.

Cite as R.C. § 4167.19

History. Effective Date: 09-22-2000; 2005 HB67 06-21-2005