Keeping your OSHA recordable incident rate low is critical to your business’ success. Learn what the Recordable Incident Rate is, how it’s calculated, the paperwork required, and why keeping it low goes hand-in-hand with a healthy company.

What is “OSHA Recordable Incident Rate”?

To begin, let’s take a look at the recordable incident rate, also known as the Total Recordable Incident Rate, or TRIR. This is a standardized safety calculation created by OSHA. It’s used by OSHA (and other agencies and organizations) as a metric to compare the safety performance of companies within a particular industry or group.

The TRIR can also be used on its own as a way to rate the safety of an individual company: the lower the number, the better.

While one number doesn’t tell the whole safety story—some would even say the TRIR is a bad metric—the reality is, the TRIR will make an impact on your business, so it’s important to pay attention to it.

How to Calculate: OSHA Recordable Incident Rate

The formula for how to calculate TRIR is simple: the number of incidents, multiplied by 200,000, then divided by the total number of hours worked in a year.

The number 200,000 is used because it is the total number of hours 100 employees would work in a year (100 workers x 40 hours x 50 weeks). The TRIR calculation is essentially a percentage per 100 workers.

So, if you had 35 full-time workers, the number of hours they work in a year is 70,000. Say your workforce experienced 20 recordable incidents. Your calculation would be 20 multiplied by 200,000, and they divided by 70,000, for a TRIR 57.14. That means for every 100 employees, just over 57 experienced a recordable incident.

If you don’t fancy doing your TRIR calculation by hand or if you forget this formula, you can easily find an OSHA recordable incident rate calculator online.

What Is a Recordable Incident?

Of course, to come up with your total number of incidents, you need to know what constitutes a recordable illness or injury. According to OSHA, the following occurrences need to be reported:

  • If someone loses consciousness
  • If a worker’s work activity is restricted or they must be transferred to a different job
  • If someone must take days away from work
  • If the injury requires medical treatment that a first aid kit can’t take care of
  • If a work-related health issue is diagnosed by a medical professional

There are also a few more reportable incidents that OSHA specifies on Form 300, the “Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses”.

This short video discusses the difference between a reportable incident and a first aid incident, emphasizing that you don’t want to over-report or under-report. The first will result in a TRIR that’s too high, and the second may put OSHA on alert. Neither of these outcomes will serve you.



If ever in doubt as to whether an incident is reportable, contact OSHA.

Necessary Paperwork

For every incident recorded on Form 300, you must also fill out the OSHA recordable incident rate form 301, and the annual 301A form. All forms are available through OSHA’s website.

It is critical that you keep this paperwork up to date and complete. Paperwork needs to be filed within a strict time frame. This is dependent on the type of incident. A fatality, for instance, needs to be reported within eight hours of you learning about it. You must keep all forms for five years.

For an explanation on how to fill out these forms, OSHA provides a comprehensive tutorial.

How Are These Numbers Used?

Your recordable incident rate can be used in a number of ways. Potential investors may look to your TRIR when trying to determine if they want to invest in your business. A strong safety culture is linked to profits and productivity.

The media may use these numbers as a way of reporting on how good or bad a company’s safety record is. Numbers are straightforward and provide a clear way to illustrate your company’s safety record to the public.

Your TRIR can sway popular opinions about your company. A high OSHA recordable injury rate may give your company a bad reputation and influence consumers to not buy what you’re selling.

Overcoming a poor public image is a PR nightmare, not to mention expensive. And the TRIR is a lagging indicator—it tells what has already happened—so getting past it may take a long time. Regardless, public memory is long and the Internet is forever.

When OSHA sees that your TRIR is consistently high, it may spur the organization to perform more surprise inspections or even issue fines. The inspections are arduous and time consuming, as OSHA typically digs deep into every aspect of your safety plan, including all paperwork. These events are best avoided.

Insurance companies often look to your TRIR to determine your premiums. And prospective employees may look to this number when considering a job with your company. If you have a lower TRIR, you’re likely to attract better workers.

You can also use your TRIR to determine how healthy your safety culture is. If your numbers are rising, it’s a clear indication that something’s not working and focusing on safety is paramount. Do you need more safety moments? Are you emphasizing the importance of teamwork?

Take pride when your recordables decrease and in keeping a low TRIR. Promote this to your employees and the public to boost morale and demonstrate that safety is your top priority.

The Importance of a Single Number

A lot rides on this one number. Not paying close attention to it can cost you your money, your reputation, a high-quality workforce, and loads of time dealing with annoying paperwork. Keep your OSHA recordable incident rate low to keep your business thriving.