Update May 30: This week, Ohio's General Assembly passed HB523 moving the bill to Governor John Kasich's desk for approval. While Governor Kasich's office remains non committal as to whether the governor will sign it, polling numbers have indicated that over 90% of Ohioans favor medical use legalization. In other news, Ohioans for Medical Marijuana, a group backed by the national group Marijuana Policy Project, has suspended their signature initiative for the November ballot, citing HB523's positive movement through the General Assembly. We will continue to update you as we receive more news.
Original Post: On May 10th, the Ohio House passed HB523 which would allow people with certain medical conditions to buy and use marijuana, with the approval of an Ohio licensed physician. This week, the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee made changes that would allow increased patient participation and speed up what lawmakers originally estimated as a two year time line for establishing the program.
Under the bill passed by the House, HB523 would allow employers the right to ban any medical use of marijuana in the workplace and terminate the employment of those that used, even with the approval of a physician. But the Government Oversight and Reform Committee made a change to the employer protection provision. Under the changes, employers would have to prove employees violated a workplace anti-drug policy for the employees to lose unemployment or workers' compensation benefits and employees could appeal similar to other controlled substances.
If HB523 is the first attempt at legislation since the overwhelming defeat of Responsible Ohio's attempt to pass a constitutional amendment initiative that would have made legal recreational and medical marijuana in November.
In other legalization news, Ohioans for Medical Marijuana, backed by the national group Marijuana Policy Project, is continuing to collect the necessary 305,591 signatures needed to place the initiative on the November ballot. The group is well organized but it is unclear, at this writing, if they will meet the July deadline for valid signatures needed.
In the event the General Assembly passes HB523 and the constitutional amendment passes in November, the constitutional amendment would supersede HB523.
Stay tuned. We'll keep you up to date.
Last week, the Ohio BWC approved a rule to help prevent opioid dependence in Ohio's injured workers. The rule will now move to the Ohio General Assembly's Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review and, if approved there, will become effective on October 1.
Under the new rule, physicians must use best medical practices, including an individual treatment plan, risk assessment and monitoring of the injured worker's progress in order for the BWC to reimburse for opioid prescriptions. Doctors who don't follow the rule may receive correct action ranging from written warnings to removal from the network of BWC approved providers.
The BWC will also be able to approve payment for drug treatment of workers who became addicted using medication covered by the BWC, if approved.
Can't make the Train the Trainer class on June 2nd? We've got you covered because we have added an additional session on June 9th at 2:30.
There are still limited seats in the June 2nd class. You can register for either class or any of the Drug Free Workplace webinars at: Webinar Schedule . Sessions are currently scheduled through August.
With June almost upon us, it's a good time to review safety precautions for workers that are exposed to the summer heat. Excessive heat can pose serious health risks but employers can take some simple preventative measures to keep their employees safe.
Before the summer sun sets in, hold a safety meeting and ensure that your employees and supervisors understand how to prevent and recognize the signs of heat related illness. Take the following steps in the workplace:
For new workers, the work schedule should be no more than 20% of the usual duration of work in the heat on day 1 and no more than a 20% increase on each additional day. Supervisors should closely monitor new employees for the first 14 days or until they are fully acclimated. Non physically fit workers may require more time.
Employees should drink one 8 oz cup of water every 15 minutes and, during prolonged heat lasting several hours, sports drinks containing balanced electrolytes should be consumed. Avoid alcohol and drinks with high caffeine or sugar.
Employers should ensure workers take appropriate rest breaks to cool down and hydrate. Workers should be allowed to take rest and water breaks when he/she feels any discomfort. As the temperature, sun and humidity increases, shorten the work periods and increase rest periods, especially when there is no air movement.
For more information visit the OSHA Website: Heat Related Safety