man using tablet on construction site for safety

How Safety Meeting Apps Can Help Lower Costs

By The GoCanvas Team on October 30, 2021

man using tablet on construction site for safety

Digital apps for construction safety can help your employees access toolbox talks on their mobile devices and tablets. Many companies have found that regular toolbox talks can help to decrease the number of accidents on site, when employees are more informed about potential safety risks. Investing in apps for construction safety is good for your employees well being and it can help to lower costs for a business in the long run. This article covers an introduction to how safety apps can help you keep down costs and avoid accidents.


Understanding EMR

The construction and manufacturing industries have some of the highest workers’ compensation costs, according to statistics from the Department of Labor. Employers in construction and a few related industries spend about $1 per hour per employee on workers’ comp, compared to the national average of $.45 per hour per employee for all other industries. 


How are workers’ comp premiums determined?

Workers’ comp premiums are determined by multiplying a rate set based on the class of employee (there are thousands of class codes, for everything from “construction of dwellings not over two stories in height” to “installation of air conditioning systems”) by an experience modification rating (EMR). The EMR adjusts premiums based on your previous three years of injury records.

A small improvement in your EMR — even just a .1 decrease — can translate into a 10-20% reduction in insurance premiums. 


What’s Average for EMR? 

The industry standard EMR is 1; a company with a better-than-average safety record will have an EMR of .9 or .8, which means their premiums will be 10-20 percent lower than the “average” company. A company with a worse-than-average safety record could have an EMR of 1.2 or higher, leading to higher premiums.

Sometimes the number of accidents is more important than how serious they are, for calculating EMR. This can be frustrating — why should your premiums rise based on a bunch of insignificant slip-ups? — but it also means it’s easy to lower your EMR by instituting a good safety program that can reduce those minor mistakes.


Keeping Your Accident Rate Down

Having a low EMR doesn’t just save you money, it also can make you more money by making your bids more competitive. One insurance broker lists five things you can do to keep your accident rate down:

  1.     Implement a formal written safety procedures manual.
  2.     Hold regular “toolbox talks” about different workplace safety topics.
  3.     Train employees how to use available safety equipment properly.
  4.     Reward employees for demonstrating safe workplace habits.
  5.     Apply for and achieve a Drug Free Workplace Certificate.


Why Go Digital with Safety Apps?

Mobile forms let you immediately track and document which employees attended each talk, with date, time, signature, and GPS stamps. Mobile forms are also stored in the cloud and can be searched and printed instantly if an OSHA inspector shows up (read: no more sifting through file cabinets to find documents). And mobile safety checklists (we have hundreds of pre-made templates for contractors and manufacturers that can be customized for your business) give employees a memory aid to follow those safety procedures you stressed in your talk.


Key Stats to Keep in Mind:

  • Total Injury-Related Costs. OSHA reports that companies around the U.S. spend $170 billion each year on work-related injuries and illnesses. 
  • Safety Programs Pay. Implementing a safety program can reduce injury and illness costs by 20-40%.
  • Delayed Injury Reporting. A study by the National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc. showed that delayed injury reporting can increase comp claim costs up to 51%.


See How Mobile Safety Apps Work

Mobile apps can make your safety program more effective by helping you deliver toolbox talks effectively (anywhere and at a moment’s notice) and document who was there with a signature, date, time, and GPS stamp (to prove frequency and jobsite location). GoCanvas offers mobile templates for several popular toolbox talk topics, or you can easily create your own. 

Sign up today for a 30-day free trial of GoCanvas or contact our team to learn more. 


The Takeaway: Investing in Safety Programs Benefits Your Business

Having robust safety programs can benefit your business in a number of ways. While there is an upfront investment for these programs, the long term benefits will make your employees safer and more productive on the job. Here are three key takeaways on the benefits of safety programs:


Workers’ Compensation Premiums

Creating a culture of safety can improve your EMR, which can lead to lowered workers’ compensation premiums.  

Legal Costs Due to Employee Injuries

Employees who are more knowledgeable about safety requirements are less likely to get hurt — which makes you less likely to get sued.  

OSHA Fines Due to Safety Violations

By continually teaching your employees about safety requirements, you can avoid costly OSHA violations.