Safety First: Xcel Mechanical Posts Record Low EMR

Gardena, CA — Fewer than 12-percent of companies that participated in a recent national survey of mechanical contractors reported a key safety indicator score of 0.60 or lower, firmly establishing Xcel Mechanical’s new 0.55 Experience Modification Rate (EMR) as one of the lowest of any mechanical contractor in the nation.

This year’s findings were published in the 2017 SMACNA Safety Profile / Safety Excellence Awards Program, prepared for the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association by the Construction Labor Research Council.

A key finding in the report: The average reported EMR was 0.81, up slightly from the prior year’s survey average EMR of 0.79, and significantly higher than Xcel Mechanical’s 0.55.

In the construction industry, a contractor’s EMR can have a profound impact upon business. Insurance carriers use EMR rates to gauge past cost of injuries and future chances of risk. A lower EMR rate means lower worker’s compensation insurance premiums charged to the contractor. Lower insurance costs result in lower total overhead for the business, enabling the contractor to be more competitive in the project bidding process.

But while the industry average ticked up, Xcel Mechanical’s EMR decreased from 0.59 in 2016 to 0.55 this year.

To celebrate and recognize the accomplishment, Xcel Mechanical President Kevin Michel hosted a company-wide luncheon at the firm’s Gardena, CA headquarters. In addition to a catered lunch, each employee in attendance was given a $50 bill and a $5 bill, to commemorate the company’s all-time low EMR of 0.55.

“This doesn’t mean we start going the other way to get bigger bills,” he said.  “But seriously, what you have accomplished this year – and over the previous three years – is extraordinary. It means a lot to the company. And it means a lot to me.”

Company Safety Director Steve Prisk said that when he started out 2017, “our EMR was already so low that the goal, really, was just to hold the line. But then it went down again this year,” he said. “It points directly to the absolute diligence of our employees. I’m blown away at the ability of our crews to keep themselves safe, and to keep our company on this extraordinary path.”

“In one sentence, it says a lot about the company,” said John Post, a longtime construction industry insurance expert and consultant. “It’s a great distinguishing characteristic of different companies within the same industry. Not only is their EMR one of the lowest I’ve seen in their industry, it’s one of the lowest I’ve ever seen, period. It’s truly remarkable.”

Post credits Mr. Michel with the decision to move Prisk into the position, and the job Prisk has done since becoming safety director. “You’re talking about a guy with the highest integrity, character, work ethic, loyalty you’ll find anywhere,” Post said.

“He really, deeply cares about the employees. And because he’s a field guy, he gets it. He’s been out there. He’s done the work. The employees respect that, and they’re obviously responding to the message.”

About Xcel Mechanical Systems, Inc.

Xcel Mechanical Systems is an award-winning engineering and construction firm specializing in commercial and industrial HVAC, plumbing, and process piping systems. Xcel Mechanical was founded in 1998, is headquartered in Gardena, CA, and is now entering its 20th year in business as a full-service union mechanical contractor with a client list that includes global aerospace firms, large metropolitan hospitals, major research universities and Fortune 500 companies. Our project scopes include New Construction, Retrofits, Tennant Improvements, Preventative Maintenance, and Emergency Services. Our Project Delivery methods include Pre-Construction Consulting, Design Assist, Design Build, and Plan & Spec Construction. Building owners, property managers, general contractors and consultants trust Xcel Mechanical to deliver cost-effective, dependable solutions that make buildings more comfortable, energy efficient, and easier to manage. For more information, please visit: