PERRP: are your employees safe?
In 1992, Ohio created the Public Employers Risk Reduction Program (PERRP) to ensure that all public employees in Ohio have a safe and healthy work environment. While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created to regulate certain covered private employers, PERRP was specifically created to regulate public employers.
PERRP assures Ohio’s public employees are safe by adopting and enforcing standards, and by providing training, education and compliance assistance to public employers through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). PERRP is designed to:
- Identify workplace hazards and reduce those hazards through effective safety and health programs;
- Develop and enforce mandatory job safety and health standards;
- Maintain a report and recordkeeping system to monitor job-related injuries and illnesses; and
- Provide assistance, training and other support programs to help public employees.
Public employers can check to see if they qualify for a free safety consultation from the BWC here.
A PERRP complaint can be filed by any public employee who believes a hazardous condition exists in their workplace that threatens physical harm or creates an imminent danger. While filing a complaint is confidential, if a public employee feels unsafe and in imminent danger of death or serious harm, they may be able to refuse to work, so long as:
- the refusal occurs in good faith;
- the employee notifies his or her immediate supervisor of the imminent danger condition;
- the employer refuses to correct, or disputes, the conditions; and,
- there is insufficient time to avail themselves of the formal PERRP process.
However, public employers should keep in mind that there is no “right” under PERRP for an employee to refuse to work, unless the danger is one that a reasonable person under the circumstances would conclude an imminent danger exists.
If your business has received a PERRP Complaint, and it is determined to be valid, a citation may be issued mandating the public employer to correct any safety and health violations. In addition, the employer will need to post the citation in a visible place where they would customarily post notices to their employees.
COVID-19 PERRP Complaints
As school districts and other public employers welcome their employees back to the office, some public employees may be returning for the first time since COVID-19 hit. Public employers should be aware that employee concerns regarding COVID-19 may fall under the PERRP Act.
This is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal advice and does not create or imply an attorney-client relationship.Download PDF