The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation’s board of directors will soon consider its largest rate cut for private employers in nearly 60 years.

New Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud proposed to board members Thursday a 20% reduction in the average premium rate it charges private employers. The full board will consider the proposal Feb. 22.

The bureau said it would save employers $244 million for Fiscal Year 2019.

Administrator McCloud said a drop in workplace injuries and estimates of future medical costs are driving the recommendation, which the BWC said is the ninth proposed rate reduction since 2008.

“We’re pleased Ohio employers recognize that workplace safety is vital to the health of their workforce, their businesses and our state’s economy,” she said in a statement. “Their efforts to promote safe and healthy workplaces are clearly paying off, and they’re making it easier for us to maintain low and stable workers’ compensation rates now and into the future.”

The reduction would be effective July 1.

Gov. Mike DeWine touted the proposal in a statement.

“Ohio is a place of opportunity for businesses and this rate cut would give private businesses a considerable opportunity to further invest in themselves and their workforces,” he said. “The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is practicing sound fiscal stewardship by recommending this large rate reduction, while still maintaining a stable compensation fund for injured workers.”

The board approved 12% rate cuts last year, saving employers $163.5 million. 

Other recent rate cuts include a reduction last year for local governments and public employers. 

The BWC also approved $1.5 billion in rebates last year. 

The 20% reduction being proposed is an average statewide change, the BWC said. Actual premiums for companies depend on factors including expected future claims costs in their industry, the company’s recent claims history and participation in rebate programs.

The bureau also touted growth in programs through its Safety & Hygiene Division, which offers grant, training and other services. Participation in those programs has grown by more than 70% since 2010, and claims have fallen 18% over that time.