Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate

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.

 

George Robotham

George Robotham

George was a Legend in the Safety World who passed away in Sept 2013 but left us with a great legacy
George Robotham
I have worked in OHS for most of my working life, many years in the mining industry including over 10 years in a corporate OHS role with BHP. Since leaving the mining industry I have worked in a variety of safety roles with a variety of employers, large & small, in a variety of industries. I was associated with my first workplace fatality at age 21, the girl involved was young, intelligent, vivacious and friendly. Such a waste! I was the first on the scene and tried to comfort her and tend to her injuries. She said to me “George, please do not let me die” We put her on the aerial ambulance to Rockhampton base hospital where she died the next day. I do not mind telling you that knocked me around for awhile. Since then I have helped my employers cope with the aftermath of 12 fatalities and 2 other life-altering events. The section "Why do Occupational Health & Safety" provides further detail but in summary, poor safety is simply very expensive and also has a massive humanitarian cost. My qualifications include a certificate I.V. in Workplace Training and Assessment, a Diploma in Frontline Management, a Diploma in Training & Assessment Systems, a Bachelor of Education (Adult & Workplace Education) , a Grad. Cert. in Management of Organisational Change and a Graduate Diploma in Occupational Hazard Management. I am currently studying towards a Masters in Business Leadership. Up until recently I had been a Chartered Fellow of the Safety Institute of Australia for 10 years and a member for about 30 years. My interest is in non-traditional methods of driving organisational change in OHS and I have what I believe is a healthy dis-respect for many common approaches to OHS Management and OHS Training. I hold what I believe is a well-founded perception that many of the things safety people and management do in safety are “displacement activities” (Displacement activities are things we do, things we put a lot of energy into, but which when we examine them closely there is no valid reason for doing them). My managerial and leadership roles in OHS have exposed me to a range of management techniques that are relevant to Business Improvement. In particular I am a strong supporter of continuous improvement and quality management approaches to business. I believe leadership is the often forgotten key to excellence in most aspects of life. I hold the Australian Defence Medal and am a J.P.(Qualified). I have many fond memories of my time playing Rugby Union when I was a young bloke.

Do you have any thoughts? Please share them below