Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate
reflections by the late George Robotham – More Pearls of Wisdom Here
The Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate is the principal measure of safety performance in many companies in Australia. The definition of L.T.I.F.R. is the number of Lost Time Injuries multiplied by 1 million divided by the number of manhours worked in the reporting period
A Lost Time Injury is a work injury or disease where the injured party has at least 1 complete day or shift off work. Note that a fatality and a cut where a person has 1 complete day off work count the same in Lost Time Injury terms.
The following are my reasons why the L.T.I.F.R. impedes progress in safety.
Some safety people cheat like hell with their L.T.I.F.R. statistics encouraged by managers with an eye to keep their key performance indicators looking good. The more the pressure to keep K.P.I.’s looking good the more creative the accounting.
Safety people spend inordinate periods of time obtaining rulings on what to count and how to count it from bodies such as the Australian Standards Association. Often answers obtained are imprecise and the decisions are left to personal opinion
Most measures in management are of achievements rather than failures such as the number of Lost Time Accidents. There is a ground swell in the safety movement talking about Positive Performance Measures in safety It is relatively simple to develop measures of what you are doing right in safety as opposed to using outcome measures such as L.T.I.F.R.
I have personal experience with a company that aggressively drove down L.T.I.F.R. to a fraction of its original rate in a space of about 2 years yet killed 11 people in one incident.
The Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate predominates discussions about safety performance. How can a company be proud of a decrease of L.T.I.F.R. from 60 to 10 if there have been 2 fatalities and 1 case of paraplegia amongst the lost time injuries? The L.T.I.F.R. trivialises serious personal damage and is a totally inappropriate measure of safety performance.
All organisations have limited resources to devote to safety, it seems more efficient to prevent one incident resulting in paraplegia than to prevent 20 incidents where people have a couple of days off work (some will say this comment is heresy)
Somewhere in the push to reduce L.T.I’s, reduce the L.T.I.F.R. and consequently achieve good ratings in safety programme audits the focus on serious personal damage tends to be lost.
Reducing the L.T.I.F.R. is as much about introducing rehabilitation programmes and making the place an enjoyable place to work as it is about reduction of personal damage.