Incidence rates can help employers identify problems in the workplace as well as any progress made in preventing work-related injuries and illnesses.

» Incidence rates show the relative level of injuries and illnesses among different industries as a whole, firms within an industry, or operations within a single firm.

» The incident rate is defined as the number of recordable injuries and illnesses occurring among a given number of full-time workers, usually 100, over a given period of time, usually one year.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) created step-by-step instructions for employers to use to evaluate their firm’s injury and illness record.

How to Compute a Firm’s Incidence Rate for Safety Management

Employers can use this formula to compute an occupational injury and illness incidence rate for all recordable cases or for cases that involved days away from work.

OSHA Recordkeeping

Every year OSHA collects work-related injury and illness data from employers within specific industries and employment sizes as part of OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements.

How do you know if you have a good or a poor incidence rate?

There’s no black and white answer. It depends on:

» How many employees worked for the company
» How many hours were worked by those employees
» What industry the company was in

Here’s an example: Ten Injuries

If the company employs five people working 40 hours per week, ten injuries would be a poor record; however, in a company that employs 1,000 people working 40 hours per week the same ten injuries would not reflect poorly.

You also have to consider whether these ten injuries occurred in a low hazard (an office or call center) or high hazard (construction, industrial) industry. Ten injuries in a low-hazard industry may be high, whereas, the same ten injuries might be considered low for a high hazard industry.

What is the DART rate?

Another rate you need to know is the Days Away, Restrictions or Transfers (DART). This number is only based on injuries and illnesses severe enough to mandate this classification and looks at the amount of time the injured person is away from his or her regular job.

To compute the DART rate, multiply the number of DART incidents times 200,000, and divide again by your company’s total labor hours.

As a best practice, you want a lower DART rate than Incidence Rate.

Now that you know your rates, you can easily benchmark your progress from year-to-year, and it’s a good idea to not just benchmark against others in the industry but also look at your own results against past results.


» Workplace Injury, Illness and Fatality Statistics
» BLS Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities
» Worker Fatalities Reported to Federal and State OSHA