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How to benchmark your incidence rates

Record keeping gives everyone involved a fair and transparent look at the facts. Share this article

Every year, the National Safety Council compiles massive amounts of data on workplace injuries and makes the resulting statistics available to the public. How does your company stack up to the national averages? The information could help you create new safety guidelines for your business.

Read on to learn how to benchmark your incidence rates.

Rates of injury are available for each industry.Rates of injury are available for each of the nation’s industries.

Calculate your rates
The only materials you need for this task are your OSHA 300 forms, which are the records of every workplace incident. These forms separate every injury into categories such as those resulting in transfers, work restrictions, days away from work or death. Injuries are recorded in columns according to the type of incident and the resulting action by the employer. According to the National Safety Council, the following equation can be used to ascertain incident rates for each category:


Here, N is the number of cases, 200,000 represents the base for 100 full-time workers and EH is the number of hours worked by all employees during a set time period. OSHA 300 logs and the number of hours worked must cover the same period of time for the equation to work. In another words, if your logs cover the first quarter of the year, you will only use hours worked during that same period.

  • To use this equation to determine the total incident rate, N should equal the total number of cases recorded in your OSHA 300 log.
  • To determine the rate of days away from work, N should represent the number of cases with checkmarks in the H column of your OSHA 300 log.
  • For the rate of days with transfers or restrictions, N is the number of cases with checkmarks in the I column.
  • For the rate of cases without loss of workdays, transfers or restrictions, N should be the number of cases with checkmarks in the J column.

For example, if a company with 100 employees that work 40 hours a week had seven fall injuries during the entire year, its equation would look like this:

7(200,000)/192,000 = 7.2

Therefore, 7.2 is the number that company would compare to the national rates.

Find industry rates
The next step is to find the rates of your industry. To do this, you need to locate your industry’s North American Industry Classification System number. These numbers are available at NAICS.com or by calling the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“A good report can encourage employees to maintain their safety best practices.”

Compare your industry to the national averages
Once you have the identification number, you can visit the Bureau of Labor’s website and easily track down the average rates of incidences for your industry. How do your rates compare with the rest of your industry?

Having these numbers can be an invaluable tool for the future of your safety procedures. As businesses work together with their employees to make safer environments, statistical comparisons like these show everyone where your company stands amongst its peers. A good report can encourage employees to maintain their safety best practices just as a lackluster report can point out the weak spots of a safety plan. Record keeping gives everyone involved a fair and transparent look at the facts, which is beneficial for everyone.

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