What is TCIR
Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR) is the number of work-related injuries per 100 full-time workers during a one-year period. OSHA uses the TCIR to monitor high-risk jobs across multiple industries including but not limited to agriculture, logging, mining, construction, manufacturing, warehousing, and transportation. Even car dealerships, schools, grocery stores, casinos, hospitals, and amusement parks can use TCIR to assess their work-related injuries.
The TCIR is calculated with the formula below, or with an online TCIR calculator:
The number 200,000 is used because it is the total number of hours 100 employees would work in a year (100 employees x 40 hours per week x 50 weeks of the year).
The TCIR provides an efficient way to compare and evaluate organizations' and industries' risk and safety levels. A high TCIR might be expected in a dangerous field, such as manufacturing or construction. Total Case Incident Rates differ from industry to industry; with certain industries having a significantly higher risk than others. Many organizations compare themselves to other organizations with the same North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code to determine a good score utilizing the United State Bureau of Labor Statistics to find a comparable rate in their industry.
If a relatively safe industry, such as teaching or retail, has a similarly high TCIR, that might be cause for alarm and investigation. Moreover, if a company with 10 employees is reporting the same number of injuries as a company with 1,000 employees in the same field, the safety practices of the smaller company might need to be investigated.
How is TCIR Used
Your company's TCIR can be used for many different purposes and having a high TCIR can impact your company negatively in diverse ways (in addition to the unfortunate fact that employees are being injured on the job). Below are some examples of groups that might be interested in your TCIR:
Potential Investors might be interested in your TCIR when determining if they will invest in your business. Workplace injuries can be a big liability, and a high TCIR could steer them in a different direction. Plus, a safer work environment is linked to higher productivity and higher profits.
Media and Consumers
Your TCIR is a good indication of how strong your company safety culture is. A high TCIR may give your company a bad reputation for being a dangerous workplace or not caring for employee well-being. A bad public image can influence customers to not buy your products or services and seek a company they find more reputable. Potential employees may also consider your TCIR when looking at jobs with your company. A low TCIR may encourage better workers to your company, while a high TCIR may scare off good talent.
Of course, OSHA will be looking at your TCIR! A high number can lead to increased surprise inspections and fines if they find problems. Inspections can be difficult and time-consuming.
Insurance providers can use your TCIR to determine your rates. High TCIR can lead to increased premiums--and no one wants that.
It is always good to know your TCIR. Is it high? Low? Are your numbers rising or falling? A high TCIR or rising incident rates are a good indication that your company safety culture could use some revamping.
How to Lower Your TCIR
So, you have a high TCIR or rising incident rates. This is a good time to start looking at your safety culture--it is likely that you can make some improvements to provide a safer working environment for your employees. Let's go over a few ways you can start to address safety in the workplace and start working towards lowering your TCIR to safe levels.
Training employees is a crucial step to increased safety. Onboarding training for new hires will get them started on the right foot; it is also good to renew training annually to keep safety and potential hazards top of mind. Making sure employees are aware of safety hazards and how to navigate them safely is a great first step towards reducing workplace injuries. Training not only for physical hazards, but how to have a "safety first" state of mind can is equally powerful. Having your staff aware of safety hazards does not matter much if employees don't care to act properly and promote safe working practices in the first place.
Training does not end with the employees doing the work. Managers and supervisors should all be aware of and trained on all safety hazards to further promote the safety culture they want to see. Additionally, having a dedicated safety department is beneficial when developing safety initiatives, assisting with training, and promoting a safety mindset.
Culture of Safety
Communication and safety must be a company goal. The push for safety should come from the top down. Having a dedicated safety department can help implement companywide standard safety practices. Safety programs and employee engagement can help make safety fun, engaging, and keep it top of mind. Different safety initiatives could include a safety slogan contest, weekly safety topics, or activities that encourage involvement in a safety and health management system.
Weekly check-ins can be useful in determining if any unsafe trends are forming. Getting ahead of problems while they are still small and being proactive instead of reactive can be a great benefit in reducing workplace injuries and lowering your TCIR.
Standard Safety Processes and Data Recording
Having robust procedures to follow if someone gets injured can also help lower your TCIR. OSHA dictates what kind of injuries are reportable, but they do not dictate your recording and reporting process. A clear incident reporting process could include how employees should report incidents, details about the incident, and any actions or changes that could have prevented or lessened the severity of the incident. It is crucial that you effectively communicate these findings with all the stakeholders, so they are properly informed about potential hazards, risks, and any lessons to be learned from the incident.
Gathering good data through incident reporting will allow you to see your trends more clearly, whether they are good or bad. If your TCIR is trending up, assess whether your safety initiatives are working, or if a new training program may be beneficial. If you are starting to see an increase in reportable injuries, you can identify problem areas and act accordingly to create safer working conditions. Proper reporting, recording, and data analysis can help you stay on top of your safety game and ensure a great and safe work environment for your employees.
Having a low TCIR, or lowering your TCIR, is a great benefit to your company. It can mean retaining employees, recruiting top talent, winning customers, creating interest among investors, lowering insurance premiums, but most importantly—it means you are doing your part to keep your employees safe at work. Creating a culture of safety, promoting awareness, providing the proper training, and encouragement from across the company can all help lower your TICR, reduce workplace injuries, and create a work environment that keeps, attracts, and protects great employees.