Deadline to join Safety Council Nears

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Time is running out for local businesses to join the Belmont County Safety Council for the 2011-12 year and potentially save thousands of dollars in Workers’ Compensation costs.

The St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce administers the Belmont County Safety Council Program. Businesses that pay into Ohio Workers’ Compensation can earn rebates on their premiums through the program, which focuses on heath and safety issues in the workplace, as well as claims management.

“The savings businesses realize through participation in Safety Council is significant, with the majority of our members receiving rebates renging from $1,000 to $9,000 per year,” said Amy Aspenwall, executive director of the St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Businesses can earn a 2-percent participation rebate on their premiums during the 2011-12 Safety Council year, which runs from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012.

The deadline to join Safety Council for this upcoming period is July 31.

Participating businesses can be eligible for rebates on their premiums of up to 4 percent.

In order to be eligible for the initial 2-percent rebate, businesses must join Safety Council by the upcoming deadline. They must also have a company representative attend 10 safety council meetings or events between July 1 of this year and June 30 of 2012. Up to two of these events may be at external educational options including Workers’ Compensation University, Ohio Safety Congress & Expo or safety trainings.

The company’s CEO or highest ranking officer must attend any one meeting, and the participating business must submit two accurate and timely semi-annual reports for the two reporting periods ending June30 and Dec. 31 during the calendar year.

Additionally, business may earn another 2-percent performance bonus rebate by reducing the frequency or severity of claims by 10 percent or more over the previous year’s claims or by maintaining frequency or severity of claims at zero.

The rebate excludes self-insuring employers, state agencies and employers enrolled in the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation’s group retrospective programs.

A recent change in the guidelines at the bureau has opened the door to allow businesses in group rates to participate and be eligible for rebates of up to 2-percent. Before this change, those in group rates for Workers’ Compensation were not eligible for the rebate.

“We’re really trying to get the word out about it,” said Aspenwall. “It’s so easy to do, and the program has already helped our participating businesses realize a combined savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Monthly Safety Council luncheon meetings are usually held from noon to 1 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at Undo’s West in St. Clairsville. Reservations are required by 10 a.m. on the Wednesday prior to each meeting to enable the chamber to order the correct number of lunches. The cost of each lunches is $10 per person with a reservation and $12 per person for those who do not have a reservation.

There is a Safety Council membership fee of $50, discounted to $25 for members of the St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Anyone interested in joining either the Belmont County Safety Council or the St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce to take advantage of these savings opportunities is encouraged to contact the chamber office at (740) 695-9623 or go to for an application.

Ayres can be reached at