Agency Overview

Hearings on disputed claims are conducted at three levels within the Ohio Industrial Commission (IC): the district level, the staff level, and the Commission level.

The Governor appoints the three-member Commission and the Ohio Senate confirms these appointments.

By previous vocation, employment or affiliation, one member represents employees, one represents employers and one represents the public. The executive director manages the agency’s day-to-day operations.

While the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is responsible for collecting workers' compensation insurance premiums, overseeing the insurance system, and paying out compensable claims, the IC is responsible for:

  • Providing a forum for fair and impartial claims resolution;
  • Conducting hearings on disputed claims;
  • Adjudicating claims involving an employer's violation of specific safety requirements; and
  • Determining eligibility for permanent total disability benefits.

To learn how the IC works to resolve disputed claims, see The Appeals Process.

The Differences Between the BWC and IC


  • Pays medical benefits and lost wages to employees who are injured or contract an occupational disease on the job.
  • Uses claim service specialists to make the initial decision on state fund claims.
  • Monitors the self-insuring employers that operate their own workers’ compensation program.
  • Claims assistants work with self-insured employers to administer the employer’s decision.


  • Hearing officers resolve disputes regarding workers’ compensation claims after the BWC makes the initial decision.
  • Determines eligibility for PTD (Permanent Total Disability) benefits.
  • Maintains sole jurisdiction over fee disputes and lump sum settlements.
  • Adjudicates VSSR (Violation of Specific Safety Requirement) claims.

The History of Workers’ Compensation

The first Ohio Workmen’s Compensation Act, which created a voluntary workers’ compensation plan for employers, was passed in 1911. The State Liability Board of Awards was created to administer the law.

On March 14, 1913, the IC was created and replaced the State Liability Board of Awards. The IC was established to reduce the sheer number of workers’ compensation cases that could overburden Ohio’s court system. The BWC was created in 1955.