CHANTILLY, Va. - More than 280 firms participated in the 2005 SMACNA Safety Excellence Award Program (SSEAP). The SSEAP evaluates safety data, identifies trends, and recognizes SMACNA members with the lowest incidence rates in the prior calendar year.

Continuing the trend from previous years, nearly one-third of responding SMACNA contractors reported zero lost workdays during the 2004 calendar year. The average incidence rate for responding firms was 5.06, a notable improvement from the previous year's 5.52. For participating contractors in general, incidence rates decreased as hours worked increased.

There was a slight decrease in the number of companies conducting new employee orientation. The average experience modification rate (EMR) of 0.85 remained the same from the previous year and held steady compared to earlier years. The EMR is an insurance rating with 1.00 being the average "insurability" rating for the industry. An EMR below 1.00 generally indicates that safety and health programs are effective in addressing injuries and illnesses in the workplace.

Again this year, cuts were by far the most common injury reported by respondents. Although usually not severe, these types of recordable injuries inflate the overall industry OSHA incidence rate due to the frequency of the injury. SMACNA encourages members to review their policies and procedures for cut prevention and take appropriate steps to avoid cuts in the workplace.

Ninety-three percent of SMACNA contractors reported they had a written safety and health program and 93 percent stated their firm has a designated safety coordinator within their organization. This is an increase from 87 percent last year. Nearly 86 percent of contractors conduct safety inspections, an excellent way to identify safety hazards as an injury prevention method.

New for this year, SMACNA was able to identify some common issues in contractors that perform "well above the average."

Publication date: 10/24/2005