As with any significant purchasing decision, when owners and general contractors begin looking to hire a subcontractor, they do their research. A good starting point is what’s called a prequalification packet. From this packet, owners and general contractors can pull numbers and statistics that will help them to hire only companies with exemplary safety records.

While numbers may not tell the whole story, they certainly do tell an important part of it. When looking over prequalification packets from potential contractors, a few statistics can speak volumes about a company’s safety record.

Experience Modifier Rate

A contractor’s experience modifier rate (EMR) is a measurement of the workers’ compensation premium paid out by a company, which directly correlates to workers compensation claims history. The further a contractor’s EMR falls below 1.0 the better. This indicates they pay out below average (1.0) in workers’ compensation claims. This figure is calculated, usually based on the previous three years of data, by the National Council on Compensation Insurance.

Incident Rates

An incident rate is the ratio of injuries requiring attention beyond simple first aid, to the number of man hours worked. This number, recorded on the OSHA 300 Form as a requirement of 29 CFR 1904, will indicate the frequency of injuries sustained by a contractor’s employees.

Keeping the numbers in context

While EMRs and Incident Rates can provide a general idea of how often injuries and illnesses occur within a firm, they are lagging indicators, or measurements of what has happened in the past. Lagging indicators can be useful for gauging how a contractor’s safety system is performing.

It is equally, some may even argue more, important to investigate what measures a contractor is taking to avert accidents from occurring in the future. These are referred to as leading indicators, and they are measurements of what’s happening at present to prevent injury and illness.

They might include the number of training hours, safe behaviors observed, peer-to-peer coaching events, and the amount of direct involvement of the company’s senior leadership. Leading indicators measure future performance and the systems that drive performance change.

Stay tuned to our blog for more on leading indicators, or to get the full story now, click on the banner below to download our safety guide.


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