There are a lot of acronyms you should know if you work in the safety industry. We even wrote a guide that covers safety acronyms from AED to ZAP. In this post we’re focusing on two: TRIF (or TRIR) and DART.

These are important health and safety performance indicators. They are essential to consider when it comes to your organization’s reputation, insurance premiums, legal implications and the wellbeing of your workers.

person with bandaged arm sitting in doctor's office

What is TRIR?

TRIR stands for Total Recordable Incident Rate. It is also often referred to as TRIF/TRIFR (Total Recordable Incident Frequency/Rate).

This is the standard rate across all industries so OSHA can:

  • review and compare statistics
  • determine the effectiveness of safety programs, and
  • flag inspections.

This rate does not predict your organization’s future incidents. However, it does give you an accurate overview of its past performance.

Knowing this rate is only effective if you know what you’re recording.

A recordable incident is an illness or injury resulting from an incident or exposure while an employee was working. A work environment that aggravates an employee’s pre-existing condition also counts.

Learn more about how the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety qualifies workplace injuries.

How to calculate TRIF

To calculate the rate of recordable incidents in your workplace, use the following calculation:

(Number of injuries x 200,000) divided by (number of hours worked)

200,000 is chosen because 100 workers working a 40-hour work-week work roughly 200,000 hours in a year.

Critics of the TRIF formula say that the rate can be alarmingly high for small organizations. For instance, if you have only 10 employees with 20,000 work hours, your TRIF would be high. Say you had three injuries in a year with those 10 employees, you’re left with a rate of 30.

Another shortcoming of the TRIF formula is that it does not consider the level of risk associated with the jobs. This leaves organizations associated with higher risk levels vulnerable to having high rates.

doctor feeling a man's lower back to find pain points

What is DART?

DART stands for Days Away, Restricted or Transfers. It’s looking at the days away from work, on restricted work activity or days of job transfer.

In any case, it’s the total average of cases where employees have been unable to their job as a result of a workplace incident or injury each year.

How to calculate DART

(Number of work-loss cases x 200,000) divided by number of hours worked

Like the TRIF formula, DART considers the number of cases where an employee missed work from a work-related injury. DART does not calculate the number of days lost.

For instance, if you had two cases where an employee missed work from a workplace accident, your DART would also be 2.

(2 x 200,000) / 200,000 = 2

What is the difference between TRIF and DART?

As their names suggest, the total recordable incident rate is the number of incidents that occurred. This may or may not be the same as the total days away from work.

TRIF and DART are both important factors to consider. These rates provide you insight into the difference between your incidents and time off.

If we use the two examples from this post and you had a TRIF of 3 and a DART of 2, you could conclude that 2/3 (66%) of your workplace injuries lead to time off for recovery.

Why your goal should always be zero

In the U.S. it’s an OSHA requirement to keep accurate records of your TRIF each year. High rates can trigger inspections and lead to steep fines.

In Canada, these OSHA-set formulas are the industry standard. Yet, labour rules are set at the provincial level, which may or may not include these rates.

That doesn’t mean you should disregard your total recordable incident rate.

These rates can impact your insurance premiums, earn rebates and influence your business partnerships. After all, people want to work with organizations that are serious about safety.

Generally, high TRIFs are negative and low TRIFs are positive (and even a bragging right in the safety world). OSHA established TRIF and DART rates to measure accurate safety in the workplace. Unfortunately, some organizations will avoid reporting injuries to keep their rates low.

Need tips to encourage incident reporting?

Read our ‘ask an expert’ article What’s the difference between telling and tattling in the workplace?

Julie McFater

Director of Marketing

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