From AED to ZAP, we’ve established that there are a lot of acronyms you should know if you work in the safety industry. Today we’re focusing on two: TRIR (or TRIF) and DART. While some may consider the two acronyms synonymous with one another, they’re both equally important health and safety performance indicators and are essential to consider when it comes to your organisation’s reputation, insurance premiums, legal implications and the wellbeing of your workers.

Construction worker with cast

What is TRIF?

TRIR stands for Total Recordable Incident Rate. It is also often referred to as TRIF/TRIFR (Total Recordable Incident Frequency/Rate). This rate is determined by a mathematic formula which calculates the number of recordable incidents per 100 full-time employees. This rate is standardized across all industries so that OSHA can review and compare statistics, determine the effectiveness of safety programs and flag inspections. While this rate can’t indicate your organisation’s future incidents, it can give you an accurate overview of its past performance.
Before we jump into the calculation, it’s important that we clearly define what exactly a “recordable incident” is: the illness or injury resulting from an incident or exposure while an employee was working. If a work environment aggravated an employee’s pre-existing condition, this is also counted.
You can read more about how the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety qualifies workplace injuries here.

How to calculate TRIR

# of injuries x 200,000, divided by # of hours worked

This equation is set with the generalization that if 100 workers work a 40-hour work week for 50 weeks each year, it equates to approximately 200,000 work hours.
In a perfect world, if you had exactly 100 employees, this calculation would give you an accurate percentage of how many of your workers were injured on the job in one year. For instance, if you had three injuries your TRIF would be 3.
Unfortunately, the chances that you have an even number of 100 workers is very unlikely. If you have only 10 employees and 20,000 work hours, your TRIR could be quite high. Say you were to have three injuries in a year with those 10 employees, you’re left with an alarmingly-high rate of 30.
Another shortcoming of the TRIR formula is that it does not consider the level of risk associated with the jobs which leaves organisations that employ more dangerous jobs vulnerable of having high rates.

What is DART?

The acronym for DART isn’t as clearly spelled out as TRIF; it has a number of different connotations including Days Away Restricted or Transferred, Days Away from Work, Days of Restricted Work Activity or Days of Job Transfer. But 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

# of work-loss cases x 200,000, divided by # of hours worked

Similar to the TRIF formula, the DART calculation will consider the number of cases (not number of days lost) where an employee had to miss work because of a work-related injury. Say you had two cases where an employee missed work because of a workplace incident, 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 – which may or may not be the same as the total days away from work. Both the TRIF and DART are important factors to consider because it allows you to see the difference between your incidents and days restricted.
Using the two examples provided above, if you had a TRIF of 3 and a DART of 2, you could conclude that two-thirds (or 66 per cent) of your workplace injuries lead to time away from work for your employees.

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. In fact, high rates can trigger inspections and lead to steep fines. While Canada looks to these OSHA-set formulas as the industry standard, the ministries of labour are set at the provincial level which may or may not factor these rates. However, that’s not to say that your TRIF shouldn’t be taken into account. These rates can impact your insurance premiums, earn rebates and influence your business partnerships. After all, people want to work with organisations who are serious about safety.

Generally, high TRIFs are seen to be negative and low TRIFs are regarded as a positive (and even a bragging right in the world of safety). While OSHA has established the TRIF and DART rates as a means of accurately measuring safety in the workplace, organisations have been known to not report injuries in attempts to lower their rate. If you’re looking for more information on how you can encourage reporting, be sure to read our articles 7 Ways to Achieve and Accident-Free 2019 and Ask an Expert: What’s the Difference Between Telling and Tattling in the Workplace.


Julie McFater

Director of Marketing

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