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contractor safety policy

Guide to ISNetworld® Grades

ISN® hiring clients work in an industry considered high risk. When your company works on their job sites they use the ISNetworld® grading method to greatly limit their liability. As a subcontractor, you will want to achieve and maintain a high grade through ISNetworld® to gain more potential business. 

What is Your ISNetworld® Grade?

An ISNetworld® rating is a letter grade issued to a contractor company based on the thoroughness and quality of its industrial compliance and safety standards. ISN® clients operate on a grading system ‘A’ –‘F’.  Contractors are considered ISNetworld® certified, or compliant, when they receive an A or B rating from ISNetworld®. Your grade is populated primarily by the quality of your MSQ® answers, company statistics and documents. 

How Does an ISNetworld® Hiring Client Grade You? 

Hiring companies choose a grade for their subcontractors based on how well they fulfill their set requirements. This helps hiring clients streamline the safety requirements for all their subcontractors and ultimately reduce their liability in hiring contractors for work on their locations.

6 Components to ISNetworld® Grade

There are six main components that are used as a tool to determine your company’s level of safety and overall ISNetworld® grade. 

1) ISNetworld® Management Safety Questionnaire (MSQ) 

The ISNetworld® Management Safety Questionnaire (MSQ) is a large chunk of your hiring client grading components and can be time-consuming.  There are three management safety questionnaires (MSQ®) you will be required to answer with your new ISNetworld® membership: General, United States and Owner/ Hiring Client. 

General MSQ®: This questionnaire is specific to your company’s Health, Safety, and Environmental policies. It is also important to include and subsidiary names. Business names on all documents must match up. If you maintain your insurance under another name and currently do business as another company your ISNetworld® review of these documents will be rejected unless any and all names are entered in as subsidiary names.( i.e. company name changed from LLC to incorporated).

United States: These questions are based on your HSE safety programs. This is where you answer detailed questions about your current safety programs.  Ideally, you will have all the necessary programs that ISNetworld® is requiring. However, if you do not it is probably because it is not a hazard that affects your line of work.  Even so, ISN® is categorizing you by the work types you selected and will generate general industry hazards for you so even though these hazards are not a current issue for your clients they are for other clients.

Owner / Hiring client: This questionnaire is one of the most important and also addresses your safety programs. It is highly recommended to meet all of these requirements first before submitting your safety programs for review and potential job contract. It is more work and can negatively affect you in the long run to have to go back and ask for an exception later. Once you have submitted your safety programs and they are reviewed you can go back and ask for an exception for the program. The client has the option to accept or deny the exception (advisory: keep the exception requests to less than 10% or you will be negatively affected and impressions from prospective hiring clients will be negative as well.)

2) Safety programs (RAVS®)

When applying for ISNetworld® certification, you will need to provide documentation detailing all relevant safety procedures and employee training programs applicable to the proposed contract with your hiring client. 

These safety programs, or RAVS®, are extremely important as they account for 30% – 40% of your final ISNetworld® grade. Your RAVS® must comply with both national safety standards and the individual safety requirements requested by your hiring client

3) Experience Modifier Rate (EMR)

An Experience Modification Rating, or EMR, is a number calculated by insurance companies in order to determine your workers’ compensation premium. Your EMR reflects three years of workers’ compensation data, and thus communicates to potential clients your history of workplace injury in relation to other companies in your industry.

If your company is too small or too new to be experience rated, then you must provide an official letter to ISNetworld® explaining your circumstances. Otherwise, your EMR accounts for 10% – 15% of your total ISNetworld® grade.

4) OSHA Logs (3 Years)

When ISNetworld® considers your documented OSHA history, they typically look at your TRIR, which is a computation based on the number of OSHA recordables in relation to your company size and industry statistics.

If your TRIR is below your industry average, your grade in ISNetworld® will be unaffected. If your TRIR is above your industry average, then your grade will likely suffer. Sometimes, an especially high TRIR is enough to cause a failing ISNetworld® grade.

5) Insurance Certificate

You must submit your detailed insurance plan to ISNetworld® in order to prove that you have coverage for the full range of activities and services performed by your employees. If your insurance certificate does not meet the minimum coverage requirements for your company, then this typically results in a failing compliance grade.

It is crucial that your company has an appropriate, thorough insurance plan before applying for certification through ISNetworld®.

6) Federal Citations

In the process of vetting your application, ISNetworld® will search the OSHA and EPA databases for your company name. If they find that your company has been federally cited within the past 3 years, ISNetworld® will deduct points from your overall score.

Federal citations typically account for 10% – 20% of your final ISNetworld® grade.

How Does My ISNetworld® Rating Affect My Business?

If you are required to become certified by ISNetworld® before working for a hiring client, then your rating has a huge effect on your business. ISNetworld® takes two weeks to grade each contractor application, so a failing ISNetworld® grade can cause weeks of delay due to the time it takes to rewrite materials, reapply, and wait for the grading process.

Additionally, a failing ISNetworld® grade may deter clients from working with your company. 

A high ISNetworld® grade can have extremely positive effects on your business. Once you become certified, all registered hiring clients will have access to your contractor company profile through the ISNetworld® database.

If a hiring client is seeking contractors in your industry, they may consider your company as you have already proven yourself in the ISNetworld® system. A high rating communicates that your company takes safety and compliance seriously.

Count on First Compliance Safety to help you achieve and maintain a high ISNetworld® grade. We are here to help you and your business with ISNetworld® compliance. Learn more about First Compliance Safety and how a safety compliance consultant can make a huge difference not only with your ISNetworld® grade but your workplace safety culture overall. You can also reach us at (844) 514-8355.