Williams Scotsman

What You Need to Know about Safety Performance Ratings and OSHA Penalties

It’s no secret that injuries and fatalities on the job site are a costly mistake. Nonetheless, the Bureau of Labor Statics recorded 971 construction-related fatalities in 2017. That’s more than 20 percent of all workplace fatalities. It’s a powerful incentive to go the extra mile to keep the workplace safe.

In an earlier post, we offer tips on how to ensure a safer job site but, here are some important safety performance terms and definitions, types of OSHA violations and corresponding penalties that every construction firm needs to know.


Experience Modification Rate (EMR) is a computation determined by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) that compares a company’s annual losses in worker compensation insurance claims against its policy premiums over a three-year period, excluding the most current year. It is a lagging indicator of performance.


Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) is an OSHA defined calculation which uses a normalizing factor to support the comparison of Injury and Illness performance for businesses in similar industries. It is calculated by taking the total number of OSHA recordable cases occurring in a business and multiplying that number by 200,000 (average number of hours worked for a 100 employee company) then dividing by the total number of employee hours worked for your operation. This is a leading indicator of safety performance.

OSHA Violation Types and Penalties

  • Other Than Serious Violation – A violation that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm. This type of violation has carries a max penalty of up to $13,260 for each violation but is discretionary.
  • Serious Violation – A violation where there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard. Violations that meet this standard carry a mandatory penalty of $13,260.
  • Willful Violation – A violation that the employer knowingly commits or commits with indifference to the law. The employer either knows that what he or she is doing constitutes a violation, or is aware that a hazardous condition existed and made no reasonable effort to eliminate it. Willful Violations are subject to a maximum fine of $132,598 and a minimum fine of $9,472.

While these are OSHA’s most commonly issued violation types, there are a few additional violation types that can be issued. Check OSHA.com for additional information.

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