The Role of Safety in Trade Partner Selection


Trade partner selection is a vital process that plays a key vital role in the success of Tocci projects. There are many factors that must be taken into consideration when selecting trade partners, and safety is a vital key element in choosing the right trade partner for the project. By utilizing unsafe trade partners, Tocci is exposed as a GC/CM to violations and citations from state or federal regulatory agencies, and place us in a position where a fatal or life-changing accident could happen at any moment on any project. OSHA citations for safety violations are at an all-time high on a monetary level, and general contractors are paying larger penalties for infractions caused by subcontracted employees.

One tool Tocci utilizes to avoid choosing an unsafe contractor is a detailed prequalification process. Prequalification involves assessing trade partners to make sure they meet basic criteria to bid on the project. All trade partners bidding on Tocci projects are required to be pre-qualified prior to being award a contract. The process helps screen out unqualified candidates before they are selected. The following safety items are reviewed during the safety pre-qualification process:

  • General OSHA history including incurred OSHA citations, and descriptions of any citations.
  • Experience Modification Rate (EMR) history. The EMR is an insurance rating which provides us a quick look at the trade partner’s accident experience. The EMR is a ratio of a company’s actual workers’ compensation losses for its type of work over a three-year period. For example, an EMR of 2.0 means that the contractor had two times the average number of losses. EMRs of 1.0 or lower indicate a safer trade partner that generally pays lower worker’s comp rates.
  • OSHA 300a logs are requested and reviewed to identify OSHA lost time, recordable and fatal accidents from the previous 3 years. These logs can show whether the contractor has a pattern of problems, or a single incident that spiked the injury rate – which could also affect EMR ratings for smaller companies.
  • Trade partner Safety and Health plans are submitted for review. Trade partners Safety and Health Plans are closely reviewed and paint a clear picture of the trade partners committed to safety, loss prevention, and safety management. When evaluating a safety program, here are some helpful questions to ask:
    • Does the written safety program appear to have been prepared for the trade partner or is it an off-the-shelf boilerplate program?
    • Is it industry-specific and does it appears to be realistic for the type of work performed by the trade partner?
    • Does the program designate a person within the company as being the safety director/coordinator?
    • Does it assign responsibility for safety to managers/supervisors/foremen and hold them accountable for safety on their jobsites?
    • Are all employees required to participate in safety training?
    • Are safety meetings and/or toolbox talks held on a regular basis with documentation of the subject, names of participants and the instructor?
    • Are jobsite inspections documented and required to be performed on a regular basis?
    • Have all employees been trained to perform their jobs safely and does documentation of this training exist?
    • Does their safety culture and safety values align with Tocci safety standards?

The trade partners we choose to represent Tocci on our projects are a direct reflection on the company’s safety standards, values, and culture.

By committing to move on from trade partners with unfavorable histories, we place our safety department and field staff in a better position to succeeded and complete projects in a safer, leaner and more productive manner.



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