Sell jobsite safety as a competitive edge

By: Ray Chishti

Publication: Construction Regulatory Alert

Date Posted: 01/18/2022

One of the most challenging tasks safety professionals may face is showing their worth to the company or obtaining project management buy-in for the safety effort.

Often, safety professionals focus on the costs of incidents and injuries when talking to project management. And, while these are certainly a primary measure of the safety effort, there are added factors that project management may be interested in — factors that may help you get the support you need.

Safety can have a substantial impact on your jobsite’s ability to remain competitive. In addition to the direct and indirect costs of a project incident or injury, many companies can begin to lose their competitive edge in at least three different ways:

  1. An increase in their workers’ compensation experience modifier,
  2. Lost contract jobs, and
  3. Hiring and recruiting trouble.

Experience modifier rate

Sell jobsite safety as competitive edgeThe experience modifier is your company’s incident history. It’s an essential issue in the cost of doing business. If your experience modifier is higher than your competitors’, you’ll pay more money for insurance coverage. Paying extra money for premiums is a waste of the jobsite’s financial resources.

For example, if your experience modifier is 1, that’s an average or normal rating. If it’s.90, you’re better than average, meaning that you’re only paying 90 cents for every insurance dollar. If it’s 1.50, you’re worse than average, meaning you’re paying $1.50 for every insurance dollar.

If your company has a higher-than-normal rating of 1.50, and your competitor has the .90 rating, this means you’re paying 60 cents more for every dollar of insurance than they are. It also means that your competitor has 60 cents more to spend on tools, new equipment, and salary increases.

Contract opportunities

Also, if your company bids for jobs, a high experience rating can cost you contract work if the company requests such information. If the rating is too high, the company may see your workers as a considerable risk, and you could lose the bid because:

  1. An increase in accidents might result in an OSHA inspection at the site;
  2. A growth in accidents will slow the project down; and
  3. If you are careless when it comes to safety, you may be careless with your work.

Hiring and recruiting

Another factor that project management may be interested in, as it could affect the company’s success, is reputation in the hiring pool. A company with a poor safety culture or incident history will not maintain a competitive advantage when hiring the best-qualified people. This can also impact retention since the most skilled workers are in the highest demand, and they may leave to work for your competitors.

It’s up to you

Even though project management is concerned with safety issues, safety is often discussed only in terms of costs, not benefits. As a safety manager or safety leader, it’s your responsibility to associate safety with increased jobsite performance, productivity, and profits. In other words, you must sell safety as a competitive edge.


Key to remember: One of the most challenging tasks safety professionals may face is showing their worth to the company or obtaining project management buy-in for the safety effort.

About the author
Ray Chishti - EH&S Editor

Ray is an editor at J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. and has over 12 years of EH&S experience in a variety of industries, including EPC projects, fossil fuel power plants, gas distribution and transmission, and electrical transmission work.

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