New group to help local organizations improve safety and bottom line
February 25, 2014—SOLON, Ohio. The Board of Directors of the Solon Chamber of Commerce at its February meeting voted to establish the Western Reserve Safety Council (WRSC) in conjunction with the State of Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. The mission of the safety council is to provide a forum for the presentation of health and safety issues and exchange ideas and concepts for best practices in the workplace with an emphasis on regulatory compliance (e.g. OSHA, EPA rules and regulations, among others). WRSC will serve Solon and surrounding communities.
The Western Reserve Safety Council will become the eightieth active safety council in the State of Ohio to be cosponsored by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), Division of Safety and Hygiene and will be fully operational by July 1, 2014. According to Chamber Chair Virginia Schmidt, “we decided to establish the safety council primarily to provide our members and other area businesses with critical safety programming that reduces workplace injuries and loss of productivity. The BWC has been tremendously supportive as we work to establish the WRSC.”
Though sponsored by the Solon Chamber of Commerce, the WRSC is open to all area companies, local governments, school districts and fire districts, whether or not they are members of the Solon Chamber. Participating companies and other entities with active BWC accounts will be eligible for two to four percent rebates on their workers’ compensation premiums in return for completing the necessary paperwork and attending at least 80 percent of the monthly safety meetings during a fiscal year. Companies who are self-insured are also encouraged to participate.
The WRSC will be a self-governing group administered by a steering committee. The steering committee will be formed within the next 90 days and is expected to draft bylaws, ratify membership fees and develop programming.
Companies and other organizations may join at any time but must enroll by July 31, 2014 to qualify for their BWC premium rebates next year. Entities can be members of more than one safety council but will only receive BWC credits for attending one. Additionally, members can have more than one representative in attendance but will only get credit for attending one meeting.
Annual membership fees will be $50 for Solon Chamber members and $100 for non-members. The WRSC is offering lifetime honorary membership and other benefits to founding member companies who make a one-time donation of $5,000 to help defray safety council start-up costs. Northcoast Shredding Service and Records Center is the first business to become a Founding Member. Northcoast has been involved in other safety councils for over 20 years and has garnered both financial and workplace rewards as a result. According to Northcoast’s president Chet Green, “we have saved significantly on workers’ comp premiums and received a BWC grant to purchase equipment that has protected our workers from injury. The idea of a safety council is critical to both the community and to area businesses and Northcoast is proud to be a founding member of the Western Reserve Safety Council.”
According to Schmidt there are a limited number of Founding Memberships available. Businesses or other organizations wishing to become founding members or join the safety council should contact the Solon Chamber office at 440-248-5080.
For more information on the Solon Chamber of Commerce, please visit http://solonchamber.com/