One of the goals of a general contractor is to help keep its team and subcontractors safe on the job site; however, incidents can happen. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one in 10 construction site workers are injured every year.

When an injury occurs, productivity, quality, cost (direct or indirect) and time are affected. According to the National Safety Council, in 2018, the cost per medically consulted injury was $41,000. In addition, if the accident is large enough, OSHA will be required to be on site to perform its own investigation, extending the project timeline.

It’s no surprise that safety is important on job sites. That’s why construction companies typically will have safety programs and policies in place. For example, a basic program can start by focusing on achieving modest goals, monitoring performance and evaluating outcomes – then grow from there. Having the programs and policies have also been linked to improvements in production and quality, better employee morale, improved employee recruiting and retention and a more favorable image among customers, suppliers and the community.

Safety needs to be integral to a company’s culture and should begin with the company’s leaders. Once the safety program has been established, the superintendent or foreman should conduct daily toolbox talks and review safety indicators with the staff. The policy also should be visible throughout the office headquarters (e.g. in breakroom).

Another way to embed safety into a company culture is through continuous training and education. To ensure standards are consistent throughout the workforce, construction companies should have employees, subcontractors and other partners go through safety programs (e.g. OSHA’s 30-hour Construction Training Course) and hold regular safety events both onsite and off.

With the right programs and culture in place should come a low Experience Modification Rate (EMR). To give you some background, EMR is an important measure of a construction company’s approach to safety and the efforts taken to prevent accidents. Insurance companies use EMRs to adjust an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance premium. This number is also used by Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), owners and buyers, to evaluate a constructor’s overall safety performance.

The average EMR is 1.0. An EMR score lower than 1.0 means the construction company is proving that safety is at the forefront of its projects. A score above 1.0 means the construction company is considered riskier, causing them to be unable to bid on certain projects.


FoxArneson is dedicated to ensuring safety on job sites. Exemplified in its .78 EMR score, we have a robust safety policy which includes a 10 or 30-hour OSHA training, are part of the Associated Builders and Contractors Safety Training Evaluation Process (ABC STEP) and conduct weekly safety checks on every job site.