Posted by: Brian McClone, Vice-President
Have you ever wondered, “What does my organization’s DART rate signify, and how does this rate impact my organization financially?”
DART stands for Days Away, Restricted or Transferred. The DART rate is an OSHA calculation, which determines how safe your business has been in reference to particular types of workers’ compensation injuries. Your organization’s DART rate is heavily monitored by OSHA and can be a very critical piece in determining whether or not you are selected for an unwelcomed visit from OSHA. In simple terms, the lower the rate, the better off your organization will be.
Your organization’s DART rate is calculated by first adding up the number of workplace injuries severe enough to warrant days away from work, restricted work activity, and/or job transfers, encountered throughout the year. You then divide this number by the total number of hours worked for all employees in that year and then multiply this summation by 200,000.
Let’s say your organization experienced a total of five recordable workplace injuries throughout the year, and all employees, including management, temporary, and leased workers, accumulated 645,000 hours worked in that year. Given this scenario, here is how your organization’s DART rate would be calculated.
5 / 645,000 = .0000077 x 200,000 = 1.54 DART Rate
Strategies for Maintaining Low Incidence Rates
The most effective strategy to lowering OSHA Incidence Rates is to implement well-documented injury/illness prevention strategies and abide by industry best practices to help avoid recordable injuries and illnesses from occurring. Here are some other helpful tips on how to calculate your organization’s DART rate and strategies for maintaining low incidence rates:
• Do not include vacation, sick leave or holidays when calculating the total number of hours worked during the year.
• Be sure to include all “eligible” hours worked in the IR calculation. When calculating OSHA Incidence Rates, the denominator (total hours worked) must be accurate. Basic algebra shows us that the higher the denominator, the lower the rates will be. Therefore, it is important when determining the total hours worked that one does not overlook clerical staff, maintenance personnel, temporary workers or employees who are exempt (i.e., salaried). Also, when estimating hours worked for exempt employees, it’s essential to closely examine these numbers and avoid any potential miscalculations. For example, if an exempt employee was to work fifty hours per week on average and take three weeks of vacation annually, their estimated hours worked should be calculated to 2,450 (50 hours X 49 weeks) as opposed to 2,080 hours (40 hours x 52 weeks), which is a common mistake that employers commit when calculating their hours worked for exempt employees.
• Make sure those responsible for maintaining the OSHA logs receive proper training on recordkeeping procedures. Also, contractors should review their logs to make sure only cases involving medical treatment, and not first aid, are recorded. Resources for determining recordability can be found at http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/ .
• Compare your DART rate with the average for your standard industrial classification, which is published annually by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This will determine the effectiveness of your safety management program. Bureau of Labor Statistics data is available online at http://bls.gov/.
• Implement a return-to-work program to minimize the number of lost workday cases. Recording a “restricted/transfer” case is preferable to recording a “lost workday” case. While one does not want either case on their log, a “restricted/transfer” case is considered less severe than a “lost workday” case and will help lower the LWDII rate. Educate those in supervisory positions on the benefits of a Return to Work program.
If you would like more information on how to calculate your organization’s DART rate and strategies for lowering OSHA Incidence Rates, give me a call at 920-651-4200.