Lost time injury frequency rates (LTIFR)

 

Definition of lost-time injury

A lost-time injury is defined as an occurrence that resulted in a fatality, permanent disability or time lost from work of one day/shift or more. This definition comes from the Australian standard: Workplace Injury and Disease Recording Standard (Australian Standard 1885.1– 1990), published by Standards Australia.

Definition and calculation of lost-time injury frequency rates (LTIFR)

Lost-time injury frequency rates are the number of lost-time injuries within a given accounting period relative to the total number of hours worked in the same accounting period. This is calculated as follows and results in a measure of the number of lost-time injuries per hour worked during the accounting period:

( Number of lost time injuries in accounting period )
---------------------------------------------------------------------
( Total hours worked in accounting period )

The number of lost-time injuries per hour worked is always a very small number. Therefore, for ease of interpretation, a multiplier of 1 million is used and LTIFRs are reported as the number of lost-time injuries per million hours worked. This is calculated as follows:

( Number of lost time injuries in accounting period )
-------------------------------------------------------------------
( Total hours worked in accounting period )


× 1 000 000

Lost-time injury frequency rates calculated and reported by Safe Work Australia

Safe Work Australia is unable to determine accurately the national number of lost-time injuries where the time lost is under one working week. This is due to difficulties (explained in more detail below) associated with collecting nationally consistent workers’ compensation data for this period of time lost. Therefore, Safe Work Australia uses only workers’ compensation claims involving one week or more time lost when calculating LTIFRs.

Lost-time injury frequency rates reported by Safe Work Australia are the number of workers’ compensation claims involving one week or more time lost per million hours worked. This is calculated in the same way as described above except that the numerator is the number of one week or longer compensation claims rather than the total number of lost-time injuries.

Why Safe Work Australia does not have accurate total number of time-lost injuries data

The data used by Safe Work Australia to calculate LTIFRs come from the National Data Set of Compensation based Statistics (NDS), which is compiled annually from data supplied by all Australian work health and safety jurisdictions’ workers’ compensation authorities. Safe Work Australia asks jurisdictions to supply data that are scoped in broadly the same way as set out in the Australian Standard i.e. claims that involved either a death, permanent incapacity, or a temporary incapacity for which payments have been made (including common law claims). However, there are differences between the jurisdictions in the amount of time the employee must be off work before the employer can claim against their workers’ compensation policy. This is known as the employer excess period. Employer excess periods range from one day to ten days across the jurisdictions. Although an employer should inform the relevant Workcover organisation of incidents that fall within their excess period, we know that this does not happen in all cases. This results in under-reporting of short-term work-related incidents and thus inaccurate data. Hence LTIFRs published by Safe Work Australia are frequency rates of claims involving one week or more time lost.

How can companies benchmark their data?

Companies could benchmark the occupational health and safety performance of their industry against Safe Work Australia’s national data if they calculate their lost-time injury frequency rates using only injuries that resulted in one working week or more time lost from work. National Data by industry can be obtained by accessing the links below. Alternatively, some of the individual Workcover organisations publish their own LTIFR state/territory figures.

Australian Lost-Time Injury Frequency Rates by Industry Table ( Austrlaian Lost-Time Injury Frequency Rates by Industry TableXLSX 39KB | Austrlaian Lost-Time Injury Frequency Rates by Industry TablePDF 121KB )

The following jurisdictions publish LTIFR information

Worksafe Western Australia has an informative section on definitions and calculations and a downloadable table showing three-year averages of Lost Time Frequency and Incidence rates by Industry.

Workcover Tasmania publishes a time series table of Lost Time Injury Frequency Rates.

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