Total Recordable Injury Frequency Formulas | All You Need to Know About TRIFs
A key aspect of tracking safety performance for any business is calculating the Total Recordable Injury Frequency, or TRIF. The formula itself is quite simple, but its implications can be pretty significant. For instance, a higher-than-average TRIF could result in boosted insurance rates, or surprise safety inspections. It could even entail consequences for a business’ reputation – nobody wants to be known as the company that’s careless about worker safety. Since establishing safety risks is one of the first steps to developing a safety culture, calculating Total Recordable Injury Frequency is essential for building a better workplace.
Explore this Article
- Calculating Total Recordable Injury Frequency
- Why Do Organizations Track Total Recordable Injury Frequency?
- Pros and Cons of Using TRIFs
- Things to Consider When Using Total Recordable Injury Frequency Formulas
- Why Reducing Your Organization’s TRIF Should be a Priority
In most cases, TRIFs are calculated annually; this not only lets companies see the big picture for improved hazard assessment, but it also helps them compare their score with other companies who use data from the same time frame. The TRIF formula looks like this:
(Number of injuries x 200,000) / (number of hours worked)
A fairly simple formula, which is easy to understand once you know what you’re looking at.
The first element in the formula, the number of injuries, comes from all workplace incidents or illnesses that either took place at work, or were the result of work-related activities. It could be a strained back from heavy lifting at a construction site, poisoning symptoms after being exposed to a toxin, or anything in between.
The second number in the formula, 200,000, represents the number of hours that would be logged by 100 employees, working 40 hours per week, for one year. This standardizes TRIF results by estimating the annual number of injuries per 100 full-time workers.
The third number in the formula, number of hours worked, provides data from the actual number of workers, not the hypothetical 100 employees. This scales the resulting number to reflect the size of the company.
Now let’s see the TRIF formula in action. If a company of 150 full-time employees reported 3 injuries over the past year, here’s what the TRIF formula would look like:
(3 x 200,000) / (300,000) = 2
The TRIF formula can also be used to track quarterly instead of annual injuries; all you have to do is replace 200,000 with 50,000, which is the number of hours that 100 full-time employees would work in one quarter.
The TRIF’s main purpose is to provide insight into the effectiveness of past safety measures. It also lets organizations compare their TRIF with those of other companies in the same industry, as a way of taking their own temperature, so to speak. A high TRIF would indicate that whatever safety measures were already in place needed improvement; a low TRIF would indicate that their safety measures were both adequate and effective in the past year. Tracking TRIFs is especially important for industries like construction, agriculture, fishing/hunting, or other industries that are more likely to result in injuries.
Tracking Total Recordable Injury Frequency can be very useful – to a certain extent. It also has a few shortcomings that you should bear in mind when interpreting TRIFs.
- It provides a standardized way to measure safety performance, no matter what industry is being measured.
- It’s easy to calculate, since only two numbers are required: the number of reported incidents, and the number of hours worked.
- TRIFs can get very distorted for smaller companies. For example, a company with 10 employees and 1 reported yearly incident would have a TRIF of 10, which is astronomical. This can seem like an unfair outcome that punishes transparency.
- The inclusion of all hours worked (regardless of relative risk) can dilute the real dangers of select departments of a company. A few companies have even attempted to bloat the “number of hours worked” with employees that were temporarily hired for low-risk work, which produces a deceptively low TRIF.
Keeping track of your company’s Total Recordable Injury Frequency can be a helpful tool, but there are limits to its usefulness. Here are some 2020 statistics on private industry sectors in the US with the highest TRIFs:
- Health care/social assistance: 5.5
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting: 4.6
- Transportation and warehousing: 4.0
- Retail trade: 3.1
- Construction: 2.5
Looking at this list, it may occur to you to wonder why construction, one of the most dangerous industries by almost any metric, ranks below retail trade or agriculture. This is mainly because TRIFs don’t take into account the nature or severity of injuries, much less fatalities. Even though a worker is statistically more likely to be fatally injured on a construction site versus in a retail trade setting, that won’t be reflected in a TRIF; all you’re seeing is the number of injuries per hundred workers, measured over a specified time period.
Another mistake would be to use previous TRIF numbers to predict future safety performance. A low TRIF may be an indication that you’re on the right track, but it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to relax safety practices and protocols.
Aside from the obvious benefit of decreasing the incidence of work-related injuries or illnesses, lowering your company’s TRIF comes with other advantages. As one of the simplest metrics for measuring workplace safety, you’ll be able to verify how you’re doing compared to the industry average – and other people will see it too. A lower TRIF may result in reduced insurance premiums, or an improved reputation among competitors. Whatever your motivations for understanding and applying TRIFs, there’s no doubt that they play an important role in workplace safety for any business.
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