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Lost Time Injury Rate: Your Complete Guide

By Avetta Marketing
December 05, 2020
7 minutes
Lost Time Injury Rate: Your Complete Guide

Everything You Need to Know About Lost Time Injury Rates

Whether you call it lost time injury rate (LTI), lost time incident rate, or lost time accident rate, this is a crucial metric for your Environmental Health & Safety Department to track to get a look at the effectiveness of your organization’s safety program.

This complete guide to lost time injury rates will cover everything you need to know. You’ll learn:

  • how to calculate your own lost time injury rate

  • the industry average rate

  • what is considered a good lost time industry rate

  • how to improve your rate

What Is a Lost Time Accident?

A lost time accident is an incident that has resulted in an employee needing to miss work due to sustaining an injury while working (only accidents that happen “on the clock” are considered in this metric). OSHA defines the criteria for recordable injuries and illnesses as:

“...death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness.”

The higher the incident rate, the lower your organization’s safety performance. Since this metric is calculated in hindsight, it isn’t a perfect predictor of an organization’s future safety performance. However, it is still important to track because it allows for the opportunity to prevent similar incidents from happening again in the future.

How Do You Calculate Your Lost Time Injury Rate?

To calculate your lost time injury rate, follow this simple formula:

  1. Divide your total number of lost time injuries (in a given time period) by the total number of hours worked (in that period).

  2. Multiply the results by 200,000 (this is the generally accepted baseline of LTI established by OSHA; it represents 100 employees working 50 weeks or approximately one year).

Your calculation will look like this:

(LTI / Total # of Hours in Measured Period) x 200,000

For example, if your organization experienced 2 lost time injuries during 175,000 hours worked (this counts all employees, so 100 employees working a 40-hour week would account for 4,000 hours right there), your calculation will be:

(2 / 175,000) x 200,000 = 2.29 lost time injury rate per 200,000 hours

One thing to realize is that this calculation only takes into consideration the number of injuries, not the amount of time lost.   



Why Do Lost Time Accident Rates Matter?

Lost time accident rates matter because they are an indication of your organization’s safety performance. 

Higher rates (indicating lower safety) can result in:

  • More expensive insurance premiums

  • Lack of employee loyalty

  • Difficulty in hiring top candidates

  • Difficulty in gaining new clients and contracts

  • Bad press and poor reputation 

What Is the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate Industry Average?

The lost time injury frequency rate industry average depends on the specific industry. Below are a few 2018 OSHA recordable industry incident rate averages. Use them as general benchmarks for your own organization’s performance.

  • Transportation and Warehousing = 4.5

  • Health care and social assistance = 3.9

  • Manufacturing = 3.4

  • Construction = 3.0

  • Utilities = 1.9

  • Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction = 1.4

  • Professional and technical services = 0.8

Across all industries, OSHA’s average incident rate is 2.9 per 100 full-time employees. 

What Is a Good Lost Time Injury Rate?

Again, a good lost time injury rate depends on your industry. However, a lower number is always better than a higher one. This is because many negative consequences can occur if you have a higher number, as listed above.

What Are a Few Ways to Improve Your Lost Time Injury Rate?

Once your organization has a poor reputation, it can be very difficult to change it for the better. That’s why it’s so important to prevent incidents from happening in the first place by providing a safe work environment and implementing proper safety controls and policies. 

A few ways to improve your lost time injury rate are to: 

  • Put Proper Policies and Procedures in Place: Create and enforce effective and clearly-communicated expectations.

  • Promote a Culture of Safety: Engaging workers in safe practices at every level of the organization is necessary. 

  • Conduct Hazard Assessments: With every new project, site, and piece of equipment, document the risks along with the controls that can be quickly put into place to mitigate the risks.

  • Focus on Employee Education: Company-wide safety awareness, an attitude of “never stop learning,” and ongoing training keeps safety at the forefront.

  • Always Use Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment: This allows workers to do their jobs safely.

  • Prequalify Your Contractors, Vendors, and Suppliers: This important step includes collecting proper documentation and verifying the data. 

Can You Discourage Your Employees From Reporting Incidents?

One thing your organization should never do is discourage employees from reporting incidents as a way to lower your rate and bypass any negative consequences. OSHA bans this behavior because reporting is “a core employee right.” 

If incidents are not properly reported, then:

  • Injured employees may not receive proper medical attention.

  • Injured employees may not receive workers’ compensation benefits.

  • Employers do not learn from and correct dangerous conditions.

Other practices and policies that are highly discouraged or illegal include:

  • Disciplining for injuries or for reporting injuries.

  • Disciplining for reporting injuries in an untimely manner or for not reporting in a way required by the employer.

  • Disciplining for violating a safety rule or for reporting a violation of a safety rule.

  • Incentivizing employees for safe practices or for reporting safe practices.

  • Linking employee or management bonuses to lowered incidents or lowered reporting.

How Can You Track Your Lost Time Injury Rate?

To track your lost time injury rate, use the above formula. However, there are a few other calculations you can use to better understand where your organization stands, safety-wise.

  1. Number of Accidents Every 10,000 hours = Accidents / (Hours Worked / 10,000)

  2. Lost Workday Case Incidence Rate = Recordable Cases x 200,000 / Hours Worked

  3. Lost Workday Severity Rate = Lost Workdays x 200,000 / Hours Worked

  4. OSHA Severity Rate = (# of Lost Workday + Restricted Workdays) x 200,000 / Hours Worked

Since all of these formulas, including lost time injury rates, are reported in retrospect, your organization can’t forecast and plan for them ahead of time. What your organization can do is decrease the risks to help prevent incidents from happening in the first place.

To learn more about Avetta's commitment to health and safety visit our website, call 844-633-3801, or email [email protected] 

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