Last fall, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (“BWC”) launched its School Safety and Security Grant Program (“Program”), allowing school districts to receive a 3-to-1 matching grant, up to $40,000, to purchase equipment to improve safety and security and potentially reduce workplace injuries.
As a reminder, there are certain eligibility requirements districts must meet in order to partake in the Program. This includes, but is not limited to, maintaining continuous active coverage, not having more than 40 days of cumulative lapses in coverage within the previous 12 months, and being current with all BWC payments.
Moreover, grant money is only available for the purchase of specified equipment improving workplace safety, including:
- Employee safety interventions – flooring/floor coatings designed to reduce slip hazards; lightweight lunch tables that reduce lifting and handling hazards; motorized bleacher systems; safe food fryers; cutting/slicing equipment; and floor cleaning machines.
- Incident response equipment – equipment bags/backpacks stocked with trauma first aid supplies; two-way communication devices and software designed to directly interface with emergency responder radio systems; and school-wide panic alarm/panic button system.
- Facility/grounds/transportation security – interior and exterior security doors and mechanisms; protective vehicle crash barriers in front of entrances; modifications of building/facility entrances to restrict access; secured keycard systems; metal detectors; security cameras; or emergency call poles.
For example, applying the 3-to-1 match, a district purchasing $20,000 worth of metal detectors for school buildings would spend $5,000, while the BWC would cover the remaining $15,000. This would leave $25,000 of grant money still available to the district.
At least 219 school districts have taken advantage of the Program – resulting in the BWC approving $6.6 million in grants. Those that have not are encouraged to do so. Interested school districts can view the complete list of eligibility requirements and obtain the Program application by clicking here. Districts are encouraged to take advantage of the Program while it is open and contact their legal counsel if they have any questions.
Contributions made to this blog entry by Spencer Michaels, Esq.