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Zooming in on Safety: Transforming Field Operations with Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) as a Safety KPI

In today’s business landscape, safety is a top priority for organizations across industries. The implementation of effective safety measures not only protects employees but also improves overall operational efficiency. To ensure the success of safety programs, organizations must rely on key performance indicators (KPIs) that provide valuable insights into their safety performance. One such KPI is the Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR), a lagging indicator that has transformed field operations by promoting a proactive approach to safety. In this article, we will delve into the significance of TRIR as a safety KPI, explore the difference between leading and lagging indicators, and discuss how organizations can leverage TRIR to drive continuous improvement in their safety programs.

Understanding TRIR: A Lagging Indicator

What is TRIR?

TRIR, or Total Recordable Incident Rate, is a commonly used safety KPI that measures the number of recordable incidents per 100 full-time employees over a specified time period. It provides organizations with a standardized metric to assess their safety performance and compare it to industry benchmarks. TRIR takes into account all work-related incidents that result in medical treatment beyond first aid, restricted work, job transfer, or loss of consciousness.

The Significance of TRIR

TRIR serves as a lagging indicator, meaning it reflects past safety performance and provides insights into incidents that have already occurred. While lagging indicators like TRIR do not provide real-time insights, they play a crucial role in identifying trends, evaluating the effectiveness of safety programs, and benchmarking performance against industry standards. By tracking TRIR over time, organizations can identify areas for improvement and implement targeted measures to prevent future incidents.

Leading vs. Lagging Indicators in Safety

The Difference between Leading and Lagging Indicators

To gain a comprehensive understanding of safety performance, organizations must also consider leading indicators in addition to lagging indicators like TRIR. While lagging indicators focus on incidents that have already occurred, leading indicators provide proactive insights into potential risks and opportunities for improvement. Leading indicators are forward-looking and help organizations identify and mitigate potential hazards before they result in recordable incidents.

Examples of Leading Indicators

Leading indicators can vary depending on the organization and industry, but common examples include near-miss reporting, safety training participation rates, safety observation programs, and the implementation of safety controls and procedures. These indicators provide valuable data on safety culture, employee engagement, and the effectiveness of preventive measures. By tracking leading indicators alongside lagging indicators like TRIR, organizations can develop a more holistic and proactive approach to safety management.

Leveraging TRIR for Continuous Improvement

Identifying Trends and Patterns

One of the key benefits of tracking TRIR is the ability to identify trends and patterns in safety performance. By analyzing TRIR data over time, organizations can uncover common causes of incidents, identify high-risk activities or areas, and implement targeted measures to address these issues. For example, if a specific department consistently has a higher TRIR than others, it may indicate the need for additional training or safety controls in that area.

Benchmarking and Goal Setting

TRIR also allows organizations to benchmark their safety performance against industry standards and similar companies. By comparing TRIR with industry averages, organizations can identify areas where they excel or lag behind, setting realistic goals for improvement. Benchmarking provides valuable insights into best practices and allows organizations to learn from others’ experiences to enhance their safety programs.

Driving Accountability and Transparency

Tracking TRIR promotes a culture of transparency and accountability within an organization. By making TRIR data available to all employees, organizations foster a sense of ownership and responsibility for safety performance. When employees are aware of their role in preventing incidents and reducing TRIR, they are more likely to actively participate in safety programs and report potential hazards or near-miss incidents.

Continual Monitoring and Adaptation

TRIR should not be viewed as a static metric but rather as a dynamic tool for continual monitoring and adaptation. Organizations should regularly review and analyze TRIR data, making adjustments to safety programs and procedures as needed. By continuously monitoring TRIR and implementing targeted interventions, organizations can drive continuous improvement in their safety performance and ultimately reduce the number of recordable incidents.


Safety is a critical aspect of any organization’s operations, and tracking the right KPIs is essential for promoting a proactive safety culture. Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) serves as a valuable lagging indicator that offers insights into past safety performance and helps organizations identify areas for improvement. By combining TRIR with leading indicators and leveraging the data to drive continuous improvement, organizations can transform their field operations and create safer work environments. Remember, the key to success lies in proactive monitoring, transparency, employee engagement, and a commitment to ongoing adaptation and improvement.

Take advantage of an enterprise platform focused on reducing OSHA-reported incidents through onsite pre-job briefings, safety observation monitoring, and reporting tailored to your industry. Reach out to learn more about Field1st or to request a demonstration