Experience Modification Rate as a Prequalification Criterion for Safety Performance
- Ahmed Jalil Al-Bayati (Lawrence Technological University) | Kevin O'Barr (North Carolina Department of Labor) | SungJoon Suk (Western Carolina University) | Alex Albert (North Carolina State University) | Jarred Chappell (North Carolina Rate Bureau)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- July 2020
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 31 - 38
- 2020. American Society of Safety Professionals
- 0 in the last 30 days
- 9 since 2007
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- Experience modification rate (EMR) is commonly used as a prequalification criterion to assess the capabilities of bidders in ensuring workplace safety.
- This study investigates factors that contribute to firms’ EMR to evaluate the reliability and validity of EMR as a safety prequalification criterion. The survey results strongly suggest that several non-safety-related factors contribute to EMR such as firm size in terms of the number of employees and post-injury management.
- Accordingly, utilizing EMR as a prequalification criterion without considering the contributing factors may not be reliable. Thus, the authors suggest recommendations and best practices to help the recruitment of safe firms and to guarantee that EMR is utilized appropriately by safety personnel.
The prequalification process is often used by hiring firms to evaluate the ability of contractors to execute the work successfully (Truitt, 2012). Considering safety performance as one of the prequalification standards is essential to ensure that an acceptable level of safety performance is achieved (Tappura, Sievänen, Heikkilä et al., 2015; Truitt, 2012). Generally, firms with satisfactory safety performance records have a well-defined procedure to identify and eliminate possible hazards in the workplace to minimize work-related incidents (Huang & Hinze, 2006). These firms are expected to achieve superior safety performance with a lower likelihood of work-related incidents (Brahmasrene & Smith, 2008). The likelihood positively impacts budget, completion time, work quality and reputation (Abudayyeh, Fredericks, Butt et al., 2006; Jallon, Imbeau & de Marcellis-Warin, 2011; Ladewski & Al-Bayati, 2019; Votano & Sunindijo, 2014).
As a result, national and international agencies such as American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and U.K.’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have suggested the adoption of specific safety best practices to ensure superior safety performance (Liang, Zhang & Su, 2018). However, the proposed best practices have been designed to be used internally within organizations, and hiring firms (e.g., general contractors) often do not have access to the information. Consequently, hiring firms have limited capability to evaluate the overall safety performance of bidders. Written safety programs and experience modification rate (EMR) have been suggested as prequalification criteria (Alzahrani & Emsley, 2013). There is a positive correlation between safety performance and the implementation of the well-established safety program (Gilkey, del Puerto, Keefe et al., 2012). However, it is difficult to assess the level and quality with which firms execute and enforce the safety plan on the basis of a written program; Wilbanks (2018) suggests that utilizing written safety programs as a prequalification is questionable, which leaves EMR as the most reliable prequalification criterion. EMR popularity and acceptance as a prequalification criterion have increased rapidly in recent years (Clayton, 2016).
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