Are you Dealing with a Safe Commercial Roofing Contractor?

Posted March 25, 2014

If you are concerned about how important safety is to your commercial roofing contractor, ask about their safety practices.

What to expect from a safe commercial roofing contractor:

Before each job begins, a safe roofing contractor will have a trained employee visit the site to observe any potential hazards and begin to create a plan. They will create a staging and setup plan for the job, showing the setup area, the material staging area and outlining how the safety equipment will be set up. The staging and set up plan will show you areas that will be off limits for you and your employees, in order to avoid potentially unsafe situations during the roofing process. The set-up plan will also include protection for your commercial building to help avoid unnecessary damage. A good safety set up plan will show necessary safety flags, fall protection equipment, and guardrail systems – these elements are used to ensure the safety of the men on the roof.

A safe roofing contractor will provide employees with annual training and educational seminars to remind them of potential hazards and allow them to make the best decisions on the job. During construction, knowledgeable supervisors (in Bloom’s case, a superintendent with 30+ years of roofing experience) will frequently visit the job site to ensure proper safety practices are being followed.

What EMR tells a building owner about a roofing contractor’s safety protocol:

The experience modification rating (EMR) represents the loss history insurance companies have paid out on workers compensation claims, relative to average loss data for all employers in that industry in that state. The roofing industry average is one; lower than 1 is better than the industry average.

EMR is an actuarial term for insurance purposes - NOT a safety rating.

Many companies, including Bloom, tell customers about their EMR (ours is .62). It is generally listed on a company’s safety page as a marketing tool because of the misconception that it is a safety rating.

It is tough to use EMR as a safety rating because it depends on accurate reporting from the insurer or previous insurers over the past 3 years. Incorrect or incomplete data will throw off a company’s EMR.

Additional indicators used to index a commercial roofing contractor’s safety history:

TRIR stands for Total Recordable Incidence Rate. It is a measure of the rate of recordable workplace injuries, based on 100 workers per year. TRIR is calculated by multiplying the number of recordable injuries in a calendar year by 200,000 (100 employees working 2000 hours per year) and dividing this value by the total man-hours actually worked in the year. Recordable injuries include loss of consciousness, restriction of work or motion, transfer to another job, medical treatment other than first aid, death, and occupational illness.

DART is calculated by adding up the number of incidents that included one or more lost days, one or more restricted days, or that resulted in an employee transferring to a different job within the company, and multiplying that number by 200,000 (once again, 100 employees working 2000 hours per year), then dividing that number by the number of employee labor hours at the company.

These statistics can be misleading for several reasons. First, they depend on accurate and honest reporting by the commercial roofing contractor. Therefore, an honest company that keeps up with its reporting may look worse on paper than a dishonest or disorganized company that doesn’t report all incidents. These measures also factor in illness that requires medical treatment, which in many cases has nothing to do with the company’s level of safety. The final issue is that the numbers don’t convey the severity of injuries; a simple cut has the same effect on these rates as a serious injury.

How to choose a safe commercial roofing contractor:

When choosing a commercial roofing contractor, feel free to consider things like EMR, TRIR and DART – however, it is important to interview potential roofing contractors about things like safety planning, set up planning, training and the safety equipment they use. Generally, regardless of EMR, TRIR or DART ratings, an experienced company with a solid safety plan, logical set-up plan, well trained employees and newer safety equipment will be safer and less likely to have a serious incident at your place of business.

About Bloom Roofing

Bloom Roofing is a full-service commercial roofing contractor specializing in the installation of flat and low slope roof systems for commercial, industrial, institutional and retail buildings. Since 1979, we have stood above other Michigan commercial roofing companies due to our skilled workmanship, fair business practices, superior customer service and professional project management.