TRIR Calculation & Formula: All You Need To Know

Keeping your employees happy and healthy brings many benefits to a business, and finding out your TRIR calculation helps you track health and safety trends in your workplace. If you want to avoid time-consuming and costly investigations while increasing your appeal to clients and potential employees, this metric for measuring incidents, injuries and illnesses is essential in informing your EHS strategy and improving your safety performance. 

But what is TRIR and how do you calculate it? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know.

What is TRIR? 

TRIR stands for Total Recordable Incident Rate and is a handy tool for comparing occupational safety and health performance for businesses and industries across the United States. It shows the rate of OSHA recordable incidents per 100 workers over a set period of time. Knowing the TRIR industry average in your sector is a great way of assessing whether your EHS strategy is working effectively. 

What is an OSHA recordable incident? 

According to OSHA Recordkeeping Guidelines 1904.7(a)

“You must consider an injury or illness to meet the general recording criteria, and therefore to be recordable, if it results in any of the following: death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness
You must also consider a case to meet the general recording criteria if it involves a significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional, even if it does not result in death, days away from work, restricted work or job transfer, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness.”

As well as TRIR, you will also come across other workplace safety related abbreviations, such as TCIR (Total Case Incident Rate) and TRIFR (Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate). But what is the difference between TRIR, TCIR and TRIFR? Well, essentially they are all the same thing. Which is handy. 

via GIPHY

Why is the Total Recordable Incident Rate Metric Important? 

Internally, knowing your Total Recordable Incident Rate metric is important for recognising and cracking down on any safety gaps that may arise. If you track the metric over the course of time, you can take action at the first sign of any rise in the TRIR rate. This helps to keep your workplace a safe and healthy environment. Having an employer that takes a keen interest in on-site safety is one way to guard against employee churn.

However, there are also a number of external bodies who take an interest in your OSHA TRIR rate too.

  • OSHA is likely to launch comprehensive investigations into your EHS policies if they see a dramatic upturn in the Total Recordable Incident Rate. These investigations take a lot of your time and a huge amount of your resources in order to comply. In addition, any fines and penalties you receive for not being completely prepared for an investigation can quickly spiral into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. 
  • Insurance companies may use your TRIR safety record in order to set your premiums. The higher, and therefore worse, your rate, the higher your insurance payments may be. 
  • Prospective employees could investigate your rolling TRIR when researching your firm. If it shows that safety is a problem or is becoming an issue, you might miss out on the best possible candidates. 
  • Potential clients could use your calculation to make a purchasing decision on contracts. If you cannot prove that your company takes safety seriously, that may affect who wants to work with you in the future. 

How to Calculate TRIR

There is a simple formula to calculate TRIR that theoretically makes it a level playing field for all businesses across America. Although, if you keep reading, you will find out why this may not actually be the fairest way of displaying this information. 

The TRIR formula shows how many recordable incidents and accidents occur per 100 employees by using the number of hours worked in your business over a period of time and the amount of recordable incidents, which refers to any illness or work-related injury that results in:

  • days taken away from work,
  • restricted activity at work,
  • a necessary transfer to a different role,
  • medical treatment above and beyond first aid,
  • loss of consciousness,
  • death.

Here is the TRIR formula:

Number of recordable incidents x 200,000 / total number of hours worked in your business over one year.

The figure of 200,000 is used as this represents the number of hours 100 full-time employees would log during 50 40-hour weeks during a calendar year. 

If you’re more of a listener, watch Ron Alexander explaining the formula in video:

TRIR for Small Companies?

One complaint about the TRIR calculation is that it penalizes small businesses due to the low numbers of hours logged. The TRIR for small companies can be completely thrown out by just one or two incidents over the course of a year, making it look like there are serious safety issues when viewed without context.  

TRIR Calculator

We have created our own TRIR calculator to help you find out the rate for your business. When calculating your total number of hours, you need to remember that you shouldn’t include vacation or leave hours. However, you should include hours worked by temporary staff performing tasks for your company under the instruction of your employees. 

OSHA Recordkeeping: Submitting Your TRIR

It is your duty to comply with OSHA’s record keeping requirements. Once you have used the TRIR calculator — or TCIR calculator, in OSHA terms — to find your rate, you must submit your results annually to OSHA. You do this through OSHA 300 and 300A logs.

What is a Good TRIR Rate? 

Of course, you need to know what constitutes a good TRIR rate in order to inform how you implement EHS. The perfect TRIR rate would be 0, as that would show there had not been any recordable incidents over the course of a year. That is obviously unrealistic, especially for big companies with many employees. Generally, a good TRIR safety rate would be around 3.0 or under as the average TRIR across the board was 3.1 in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, the level of risk involved across different occupations varies greatly. This is why it is also important to look at the TRIR industry average for a company and not just the headline rate. You would expect a higher TRIR in traditionally dangerous occupations than in more sedate jobs. For example, the TRIR industry average for crop farming in 2018 was 6.1, whereas the TRIR for telephone call centres was 0.8. 

Another aspect of TRIR in safety to take into consideration is the trend for a particular business. If the rate is trending downwards, it shows that the company is addressing safety concerns. If it is trending upwards, there is cause for concern. 

This is an example of a positive trend for a business, decreasing its TRIR.

Total Incident Rate by Industry

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the following information about the incidence rates in the private sector during 2018:

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting 5.3
Transportation and warehousing4.5
Arts, entertainment, and recreation 4.1
Health care and social assistance3.9
Retail trade3.5
Manufacturing3.4
Accommodation and food services3.1
Construction3.0
Wholesale trade2.9
Administrative and waste services2.3
Real estate and rental and leasing2.3
Other services (except public administration)2.2
Educational services1.9
Utilities1.9
Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction 1.4
Information1.3
Management of companies and enterprises0.8
Professional and technical services0.8
Finance and insurance0.5

How to Lower your TRIR

TRIR is a lagging indicator that shows you whether improvements to your EHS policies are needed. If you find that your rate is rising or you have crept above the TRIR industry average for your sector, there are steps you can take to lower your TRIR. 

Improve Incident Investigation

You should look to improve your investigation processes following incidents. Ensure all information is clearly and correctly logged and then acted upon. The way your business reacts to incidents helps inform how well you perform in the future. Are persistent risks addressed? Can you clearly see which factors led to the incident occurring? 

Engage Workers

Everyone in your business needs to know who holds responsibility for safety, how to spot potential hazards and who to report them to. Management must have a clear policy on the course of action once someone files a report, too. In short, lowering your TRIR is directly related to improving your safety culture — from educating workers about reporting near misses to engaging them in safety games.

FAQs

What is the Difference Between DART and TRIR?

Although DART and TRIR calculations are similar, there are differences, too. DART stands for Days Away, Restricted, or Transferred. It takes into account the days an employee is absent from work due to a work-related injury or illness, the number of days they are transferred to other duties because they cannot fulfill their own tasks, and the number of days they are under work-related restrictions. For example, if they have to avoid lifting heavy objects. 

The difference is that TRIR also includes incidents that do not result in employees taking days away, working under restrictions or being transferred to other duties. This means that your TRIR rate will be higher than your DART rate except in very exceptional circumstances where absolutely all workplace incidents resulted in days away, restricted or transferred. 

How Often Should You Calculate TRIR?

You are legally obliged to calculate TRIR and submit your rate to OSHA on an annual basis, but it could be beneficial to record it more often. By tracking your TRIR monthly or quarterly, you can spot trends more quickly than leaving it for a full 12 months. However, if you find yourself dealing with very small numbers, it may be difficult to get an accurate representation, as one or two incidents can skew the figures. Larger companies are best placed to record over shorter periods. 

Why Does the TRIR Formula Include 200,000?

The 200,000 in the TRIR formula refers to the number of hours worked by 100 employees over 50 weeks of 40 hours at work. 

Conclusion

Your TRIR calculation is critical for keeping up with your legal requirements, helping you keep on top of safety at work, and for making your business an attractive proposition to clients and employees. It may not be perfect, especially for small businesses, but it does help you keep track of on-site safety over the course of time, just by completing one very simple formula. 

References and Further Reading