How is a Safety Score calculated?


The Highwire safety score is central to Contractor Success. For clients, it is one of the very first data points that they see for a contractor. For contractors, it is their first indication of how they measure up against their peers in the industry and how they may be viewed by their clients.

The Highwire safety score ranges from 0 to 100 just like an academic grade. After all, Highwire was created at Harvard University. In addition, this scale is widely and easily understood. 

When contractors enroll in Highwire, they provide data about their past performance, or their lagging indicators. They also answer a series of questions about their safety programs and management systems, or their leading indicators. Lagging indicators account for 55% of the safety score and leading indicators the remaining 45%.

Lagging Indicators - 55% of the Safety Score

Below is a list of the lagging indicators that factor into the Highwire safety score:

Injury and Illness Data 

  • Recordable Cases for each of the last 3 years
  • Days Away, Restricted Duty, or Job Transfer (DART) cases for each of the last 3 years
  • Number of Fatalities in each of the last 3 years
  • Total hours worked by all employees in each of the last 3 years


By collecting the data above we are able to calculate each contractor’s average Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) and average DART Rate over the three-year period. We then compare these averages to the most recent industry averages published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for each contractor’s specific trade.

If you are located outside of the USA, the scorecard may have slightly different terminology but is still scored as we describe below.

Experience Modification Rating (EMR) EMR is collected for each of the last 3 years.

Each contractor’s average EMR is calculated and compared against the insurance benchmark of 1.0.

OSHA Experience 

Each contractor is required to report any OSHA violations issued to their company in the last three years. Violations are only considered once the OSHA inspection is ‘Closed’ since proposed violations from inspections that are still ‘Open’ may be contested, reduced, or deleted.



Leading Indicators - 45% of the Safety Score or 45 points

Program Elements 

Each contractor answers a series of questions related to the programs that they have in place to address specific hazards or activities. An example question:

Are your employees EVER required to enter or work around trenches or excavations?

Contractors are expected to have programs in place to address activities and hazards that are relevant to their scope of work. For the above question, as an example, we would not expect a flooring contractor or painter to have an excavation and trenching program.

Management Systems 

Each contractor answers 17 questions related to the management systems that they have in place that support their ability to execute against their safety programs. An example question:

Does your company have a defined employee training and development program for workforce, foreman, superintendents, and managers?

Management systems are weighted much more heavily than program elements. Having management systems in place ensures that leadership is involved, employees are trained, team members are held accountable for their performance, an annual self-evaluation is conducted to drive continuous improvement, and more. Without adequate management systems, it is very difficult for companies to execute programs like fall protection, confined space entry, and more, hence the higher weighting.

Advanced Initiatives 

Each contractor answers 9 questions about the Advanced Initiatives in place at their company. An example advanced initiative question:

Does your company have a Return-to-Work program for employees who have been injured?

Other questions center around substance abuse prevention programs and any special memberships/partnerships with OSHA (i.e. VPP, SHARP, etc.)


Documentation Collected by Highwire

During the enrollment process contractors are required to upload several forms of supporting documentation.

  • To support their Injury and Illness data, contractors are required to upload an OSHA 300A summary form for each year.
  • To support their EMR, contractors are required to upload NCCI documentation or documentation from their insurance provider.
  • To support their answers to the Program Elements, Management Systems, and Advanced Initiatives questions, contractors are required to upload electronic versions of their company’s programs.


Safety Score in the Highwire Platform

Contractor Dashboard


To view the formula calculations for the score related to the "Injury & Illness" section, click on the blue info icon.

The dashboard tab will also identify strengths, weaknesses, and a Trending Safety Analysis by Trade that can help guide a company to further develop safety programs.



You can learn more about improving your score by visiting this article here



If you believe that your uploaded documentation sufficiently addresses any discrepancy you can request that Highwire conduct an additional review.

To expedite the review of your documentation, we need you to provide us with the following information

  1. Reference the specific deduction/question you would like us to review (tab and question number).
  2. Provide the file name of the uploaded document where the content can be reviewed.
  3. Provide the page number(s) where the content can be reviewed.

If you do not have a program to support the discrepancy, you can visit this help article for guidance on what a typical safety program should include and for guidance on the importance of safety management systems: Elements of a Safety Program.


A manual review of the documentation can take a few business days for our Certified Safety Professionals to complete. We will notify you via email when this review is completed.


Please feel free to contact us by clicking the Help Icon at the bottom left of your profile.