This month, Optimation surpassed two years without a lost time incident. In our line of work providing engineering, design and build solutions for industrial and manufacturing companies, this is a difficult feat. But it's not an unattainable one. It takes planning and training, employee dedication, and a culture of safety to make milestones like these possible. This means an investment of time and money for companies who are serious about working safely. But the cost of not working safely can be very high.
Every year, businesses spend billions of dollars on the costs associated with workplace injuries and illnesses. These costs include the medical expenses and property damage, as well as insurance premiums which increase with the frequency of injuries. Many times these types of injuries are simply the result of lack of foresight and planning. While certain industries or workplaces pose higher injury risks for workers, believe it or not, every company can reduce lost time injuries and costs by implementing an effective Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) program.
What is considered a LTI?
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration - OSHA, a lost time injury is any injury that occurs in the workplace which results in at least one day away from work for the injured individual. The most common types of LTIs for service industry workers might include sprains and strains, injuries resulting from overexertion. In construction and manufacturing industries, injuries resulting from contact with objects or equipment are more prevalent.
Lost Time Injury Rates are calculated by using a standardized formula. This calculation makes it easier to compare the LTIR of one company to another.
Taking the total number of lost time days incurred in a given year and multiplying by 200,000 (the number of hours worked by 100 full time employees in a year) then finally dividing by the actual number of hours worked will give the LTIR.
LTIR = # of LTI cases x 200,000
Total # of hours worked
Truthfully, LTIR is only one performance indicator and is not the only metric a company should use in order to determine the effectiveness of a safety program. Lost time is a traditional lagging indicator of safety performance, meaning that past events are used to measure current safety performance.
Lagging indicator examples:
- Near miss frequency or severity
- OSHA DART rate
- Number of regulatory citations
- Experience Modification Rate (EMR) – used for insurance purposes
Leading indicators on the other hand are proactive measure of performance. Leading indicators include measures like:
- Number of hours spent on employee training
- Frequency of safety audits or inspections performed
- Length of time for action item follow-up
- Employee turnover rate
Lost Time Injury Rate, while an important metric is not the be-all-end-all when it comes to measuring your safety performance. The most successful safety programs will use both leading and lagging indicators to track success and determine areas for improvement.