COLUMBUS — Ohio public and private pre-kindergarten through 12th grade educational facilities can now apply for safety and security grants through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

"From machine shops to volunteer fire departments, BWC has helped thousands of employers create safer workplaces," said BWC Administrator/?CEO Sarah Morrison. "Schools are unique because they’re workplaces, too, but we also want them to be safe havens for our children to learn and grow. I’m pleased BWC can direct resources to protecting our educators and the children we entrust in their care."

As part of its $1.5 billion rebate, BWC announced it would set aside $4 million over two years to help make schools safer for teachers, staff and students. The program was developed in consultation with stakeholders, the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the Ohio Homeland Security’s Center for P-20 Safety & Security.

Licensed preschool through 12th grade educational facilities can receive a 3-to-1 matching grant, up to $40,000, meaning BWC will match every school dollar with $3.

Schools may apply for:

• Incident response equipment such as equipment bags/?backpacks stocked with trauma first aid supplies, two-way communication devices and software designed to directly interface with emergency responder radio systems, and school-wide panic alarm/?panic button systems;

• Building/?grounds/?transportation security enhancements such as interior and exterior security doors and mechanisms (e.g., panic bars or other fire code compliant door locking mechanisms, bullet proof glass, bullet resistant coating materials for existing glass), protective vehicle crash barriers at front of entrances, modifications of building/?facility entrances to restrict access, secured keycard systems, metal detectors (fixed or portable), security cameras and emergency (police dispatch) call poles;

• Safety interventions such as flooring/?floor coatings to designed reduce slip hazards, lightweight lunch tables that reduce lifting and handling hazards, motorized bleacher systems to reduce manual pushing and pulling forces, safe food fryers, food cutting/?slicing equipment and floor cleaning machines.

More information and the grant application are available at bwc.ohio.gov.