DART Rate: What It Is and How to Calculate It
Calculating your company's DART rate is an easy way to measure the way workplace injuries impact your business.
Every safety professional knows that injuries and other incidents have a strong, negative effect on productivity and efficiency. But that can be difficult to communicate to other members of your organization. Without numbers and hard data, it's almost impossible to show how urgent the problem really is.
That's why understanding and calculating your company's DART rate is so important.
What Is the DART Rate?
DART is an acronym for Days Away, Restricted, or Transferred. It's one of the metrics the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) uses to measure the impact of workplace injuries.
It specifically tracks any worker who has suffered a workplace injury or illness that caused them to cease working in their normal capacity. This includes anyone who has had to:
- Stop working
- Restricted their work activities
- Transferred to a different department or job
Unlike your company's total injury rate, DART represents only the incidents that have had an impact on workplace activities. And unlike the lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR), it includes any injury that has affected the normal course of your operations even if the affected employee has not ceased working.
(Learn more about Calculating Your Company's Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate)
How to Calculate Your DART Rate
OSHA requires every company to submit an OSHA 300 log every year. Each company's DART rate will be included in that log.
That means there's no way around it for anyone who is in charge of workplace safety - you'll have to calculate your company's DART rate and do it annually. Luckily, that's an easy task. All you have to do is use this formula:
DART rate = (Total number of recordable injuries and illnesses that caused a worker to be away, restricted, or transferred x 200,000) / Total number of hours worked by all employees
Why 200,000? It represents the number of hours that 100 employees would work over a 50 week span, assuming they each put in 40 hours a week.
If your workplace doesn't have 100 employees and if your workers didn't actually clock in a total of 200,000 hours, that's fine. Using that 200,000 multiplier is what allows you to use your DART rate as a benchmark to easily compare your safety performance against other companies and industries.
(Learn about 12 Things to Do During an OSHA Investigation)
What Counts as a Recordable DART Incident?
The biggest challenge people face with DART rate calculations is determinig exactly what incidents should be counted toward your DART rate and which should be left out.
Here are a few clarifications that will help you sort out the difference.
The DART rate only includes injuries or illnesses that were sustained at work or developed as a result of work practices or conditions. An injury sustained off job or an illness that isn't acquired through work doesn't make the cut.
So, leave out any pre-existing conditions and injuries that take place outside of work - even if they cause the worker to take time off. Same with any illness or injurty with symptoms that present at work but were incurred outside of working hours.
Suppose, for example, that an employee injures their knee while playing backyard football over the weekend. They come to work on Monday, but leave mid-day to consult a doctor after the pain becomes unbearable. The doctor advises them to take a few days off work. Even though much of this played itself out at work, the injury itself was sustained outside of working hours. Therefore, it won't count toward your DART rate, no matter how many days the worker has to miss while recovering.
Partial Return to Work
The DART rate represents injuries that result in a worker being away from work, restricted in their work, or transferred. But how do you record it if an injury results in more than one of these outcomes?
Here's an example where that could happen. A worker develops a lung condition from workplace exposure. They take a few weeks off to undergo in-patient treatment. Once they return to work, their decreased lung capacity means they can no longer perform the physically demanding labor they used to, so they're transferred to an office position.
So, here we have a worker who was away from work and then transferred, both due to the same incident. Does it count as two instances of DART or just one?
In this case, you would count it as one. The DART rate tracks the incidents, not the outcomes. So, always tally up the DART incidents themselves, no matter how many events result from them.
Although the paperwork it involves is a lot less exciting than implementing control measures, leading committees, and promoting safety initiatives, calculating your DART rate will provide you with valuable insight into the safety of your workplace.
It can also save you some regulatory headache. OSHA considers DART rates when selecting which companies they'll visit. If you take steps to lower your DART rate, you reduce your odds of an inspection.
More improtantly, having clear data on the impact of workplace incidents will help you make a stronger case for an increased investment in safety. So don't just send your DART info to OSHA - use it when communicating with management as well.