Industrial Commission News and Press Releases

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Mail Pickup Location in the William Green Building

COLUMBUS - Picking up flat mail in the William Green Building just became more convenient for workers’ compensation representatives.

Effective March 12, workers’ compensation attorneys and representatives can begin retrieving their flat mail from the Customer Service Department on the first floor. Previously, representatives had to go to Level B-2 to retrieve their flat mail.

“In order to make mail pickup more practical for our customers, it makes sense for us to move the mail pickup to the first floor,” Chairman Karen Gillmor said. “This change will create a one-stop shop for our customers to retrieve flat mail and conveniently file documents with the IC at the front counter.”

The previous mail pickup location did not offer the same convenience as the new location. In the past, attorneys and representatives would have to obtain a visitor badge at the security desk before going to Level B-2.

“With this change, representatives can simply pick up their mail in a matter of minutes,” Chairman Gillmor said. “This will increase efficiency and convenience for our customers.”

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Countless Contributions: A Commemoration of Black Women

COLUMBUS - Lively music and educational insights from a dynamic speaker filled the William Green Building Auditorium last week.

Employees from the Industrial Commission, Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) took time out of their busy schedules on February 28 to celebrate outstanding black women in American history.

Representatives from all three agencies offered their own warm welcomes and shared what black women in American culture have personally shown them.

"This program and celebration makes me very proud of what black women in public life have accomplished,” Chairman Karen Gillmor said. “I am very humbled by the acts of Helen Rankin, the first African American woman to serve in the Ohio House of Representatives."

Chairman Gillmor discussed how an astonishing 50 percent of the workforce is composed of women and how many of them are serving in public office.

"A perfect example of an African American woman who currently serves and represents public life is Michelle Obama,” she said. “She works extremely hard in the background, yet makes a huge difference in the lives of those she touches.”

BWC Administrator Stephen Buehrer and ODH Information Technology Supervisor Leslie Steward-Scott spoke about how women are extremely influential even though many do not receive the appropriate recognition. They also acknowledged how unique this event was in creating a hybrid between Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March.

“Women have played a large role in the movement for human and civil rights by fighting hard for their cause simply because that’s what we do,” Leslie said. “It’s in our DNA!”

After a musical number by BWC’s Cecil Lytle, Judge Kim Browne took the stage and gave a speech that focused on the powerful black women who have shaped her throughout her life.

She spoke warmly about Helen Elsie Austin, the first black woman to receive a law degree from Browne’s alma mater, the University of Cincinnati. She was the first black woman to serve as Assistant Attorney General in Ohio and became legal advisor to the District of Columbia government in 1939. As a U.S. Foreign Service Officer from 1960 to 1970, she served as a representative with the United States Information Agency in Lagos, Nigeria and later in Nairobi, Kenya. Austin retired from the Foreign Service in 1970.

Browne also discussed the legacy of Ellen Walker Craig-Jones.

In 1960, Craig-Jones embarked on a political career and became a member of the Urbancrest Village Council. In 1971, Craig-Jones was elected mayor of Urbancrest, Ohio and became the first African-American woman to be elected mayor of a municipality in the United States.

“Through Ellen’s accomplishments and her founding of the Buckeye Boy’s Ranch in Ohio, I was inspired by what large acts of bravery a small town woman could commit,” Browne said.

Browne also spoke about Dorothy Dandridge, a native of Cleveland, who became the first black woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Due to her unwavering commitment and refusal to play stereotypical black roles of the day, Dorothy was finally given the more serious roles she craved.

Many pioneers in education influenced Browne, including Helen Edmond, the first black woman to earn a doctoral degree from Ohio State University and Lucy Stanton, the first black woman to receive a college degree.

“I challenge everyone in attendance to reflect on the incredible women highlighted today while striving to emulate their strength and celebrate their legacies,” Browne said.

She closed her speech with the following inspiring words from a prominent African American poet, Maya Angelou: “I speak to the black experience, but I am always talking about the human condition -- about what we can endure, dream, fail at, and still survive.”

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Workplace Violence Training Helps Keep IC Customers Safe

COLUMBUS - In an effort to improve the safety and security in each Ohio Industrial Commission (IC) office throughout the state, the IC launched a comprehensive workplace violence training program last month.

“It is an unconditional top priority for the IC to be proactive in all security matters,” IC Chairman Karen Gillmor said. “As the leader of this agency, I will dedicate the necessary resources to make sure our facilities are secure.”

The training, which took place at each IC office throughout February and March, educated IC employees regarding workplace violence issues and ways to react if such a situation occurred.

“We have a zero tolerance for threatening acts and I want our employees and customers to understand how passionate I am about safety,” Director of Security Mike Tanner said. “From the Governor’s office down to each state agency, the safety and security of Ohioans is paramount.”

The purpose of the training was to teach employees how to identify workplace violence, report violent incidents and better understand the agency’s Workplace Violence Policy.

“The safety of our employees and our customers is very important to this agency,” Tanner said. “I take these matters extremely seriously.”

After reviewing the types of workplace violence offenders and how the IC will investigate all complaints, Tanner discussed workplace shootings.

Although the odds of a workplace shooting have decreased in recent years, employees were taught to quickly assess the situation and respond with purpose and conviction.

Staff members were also instructed to report uncomfortable workplace situations or suspicious individuals to management immediately.

Tanner said a violent situation can also be avoided by an act as simple as taking the time to listen to our customers.

“We are an agency that deals with people’s health care, which means there is a potential for an incident to occur,” he said. “It is very important to offer validation and support to those individuals who feel ignored or let down by the system.”

The training sessions are the latest initiative the agency has developed to improve safety. Security measures offered to IC employees, employers and injured workers bring peace of mind that safety is of the utmost importance at the agency.

“Metal detectors, enhanced security cameras and up-to-date emergency plans are the latest methods that the IC’s security team has developed to confront safety threats with confidence,” Tanner said. “It is very important that the people are safe and the facilities are secure as we execute our mission to serve the people of Ohio.”