Every safety professional knows that injuries and other incidents have a strong, negative effect on productivity and efficiency. But it can be difficult to communicate this to other members of your organization unless you have some numbers to make the problem apparent and urgent.
That's why 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 that OSHA uses to measure the impacts of workplace injuries. It tracks any worker who suffered a workplace injury or illness that caused them to cease working in their normal capacity. This includes anyone who has had to:
- Cease working
- Restricted their work activities
- Transferred to different department or job
Unlike your company's total injury rate, DART represents only those injuries and illnesses that have had an impact on workplace activities. And unlike your lost time injury frequency rate, it will include any injury that has affected the normal course of your operations, not only those that resulted in caused an employee to temporarily or permanently cease working (learn more about Calculating Your Company's Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate).
How to Calculate Your DART Rate
OSHA requires companies to submit an OSHA 300 log every year, and the DART rate will be included in it.
Luckily, calculating your DART rate is easy. Simply use the following 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 will work over a 50 week span (leaving out two weeks to account for holidays), assuming they each put in 40 hours a week.
But it doesn't matter whether 100 of your employees actually worked 200,000 hours. Even if they worked substantially more or fewer hours than this, it's still the number you will be using because it is used as a benchmark to allow easy comparison across companies and industries.
The Big Question: What Counts as Recordable?
The biggest trouble with DART rate calculations is usually determining what constitutes a recordable injury.
Here are some tips for clearly identifying the events that should be included in your DART rate.
The DART rate only includes injuries or illnesses that were sustained at work or developed as a result of work practices or conditions.
Pre-existing conditions should not be counted toward the DART rate, nor should injuries that were sustained outside of work. This includes symptoms that present at work but were caused by an injury or illness incurred outside of working hours.
For example, suppose an employee injures their knee while playing a game of backyard football over the weekend. They come to work on Monday but the pain becomes unbearable and at mid-day they leave to consult a doctor who advises them to take a few days off work. Although much of this scenario played out in the workplace, the injury itself did not happen at work, so it should not be included in the DART rate.
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 causes more than one of these scenarios to take place?
Suppose that a worker develops a lung condition while from exposure at work and have to take a few weeks off to undergo in-patient hospital treatments. Once they return to work, however, their decreased lung capacity makes them incapable of performing their job's physically demanding labor, so they're transferred to an office position.
So, here we have a worker who was away from work and transferred. Does it count as two instances of DART?
No. In this case, both events were caused by the same incident, so it only counts once.
Put simply, the DART rate calculates the frequency of incidents resulting in these events, not the number of events themselves.
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.
Having clear data on the impact workplace incidents have on your company is an important step in making a case for an increased investment in safety. So don't just send your DART info to OSHA; make use of this valuable info, too.