What seemed like a simple story has become much more complicated, and we need your help.

In 2017, the chief actuary of the main insurance industry rate-setting corporation for workers' compensation wrote that experience modification ratings (EMR) could not be relied on as an accurate pre-qualification criteria for using a contractor.

The idea wasn't new, but it got our attention.

We know that workers' compensation experience modification ratings are a reliable means to help employers improve safety. And an important precision tool in setting the workers' compensation premium for each employer. But the ratings are relied on by owners and prime contractors as a tool in evaluating a contractor's safety performance.

Although E-Mods were never designed to be used that way, contractors say that their low rating is an important method of competing.

When, if ever, should the EMR be the only measure in evaluating a contractor's safety performance? And what other measures, such as Total Recordable Injury Rate, should be given equal weight?

There are other related issues. What is the minimum amount of information needed for an accurate picture of how safe an employer really is?

What do the safety pre-qualifications your company completes require?

Our story on this subject will appear in April. We invite you to post comments below or to email me at kormanr@enr.com.