Limit the number of accidents at work in your company by monitoring the frequency rate
Calculating and monitoring the frequency rate enables companies to monitor and control occupational risk, and to manage the absenteeism that may result.
Companies, particularly in the industrial sector, have an obligation to ensure the health and safety of their employees at work, in particular by monitoring the frequency rate of accidents at work, as well as their severity rate.
What exactly is the frequency rate? How do you calculate the accident frequency rate? Find out more about this HR indicator and other metrics for measuring occupational risk.
What is the frequency rate?
The frequency rate is an HR indicator that measures the degree to which employees are exposed to occupational risk, by calculating the number of accidents at work resulting in at least one day's absence from work per million hours worked.
It enables companies to estimate the frequency of accidents in the workplace, in order to prevent occupational accidents more effectively and help implement an effective risk prevention strategy.
Why use the frequency rate?
- To assess the degree of exposure to occupational risk,
- to monitor changes in the indicator from year to year, in order to measure the effectiveness of actions taken,
- compare with similar companies and with the average for the sector,
- check that the occupational health and safety objectives set have been achieved,
- guide the risk prevention strategy and action plan.
The limits of the frequency rate
Is the frequency rate really a sufficient indicator for measuring the performance of occupational health and safety measures?
It would seem that it does not provide a faithful representation of reality. Taking only this indicator into account can distort a company's view of safety management, because it :
- bases its analysis solely on past events
- does not analyse the causes of the accident,
- does not take into account the seriousness of the accident,
- does not include minor accidents that would not be reported.
👉 It is therefore useful to supplement it with other indicators in order to provide a more detailed analysis, and to guide the action plan of measures to limit occupational accidents more effectively.
How do you calculate the frequency rate of accidents at work?
Calculating the frequency rate
The calculation takes into account three factors
- the number of accidents at work resulting in at least 24 hours' absence from work. This figure excludes the day of the accident.
- the number of hours worked. This corresponds to the number of full-time employees multiplied by the number of hours worked in a year.
- One million hours. Why multiply by such a high figure? Quite simply because it makes it possible to obtain round numbers with few digits after the decimal point, which are easier to remember and interpret. It is also estimated that one million corresponds to the number of hours worked full-time in a lifetime, multiplied by 10.
Formula for calculating the frequency rate (TF1)Number of lost-time accidents / Number of hours worked x 1,000,000
👉 Example of calculating the frequency rate of accidents at work
A company with 10 full-time employees working 35 hours a week.
- 1 accident resulted in lost time over the past year,
- number of hours worked: 10 employees x (35 h x 47 working weeks) = 16,450.
Calculation: (1 / 16,450) x 1,000,000 = 60.79
☝️ Note: the monthly frequency rate can also be calculated.
Other methods of calculating the frequency rate
While the most common formula for calculating the frequency rate only takes into account accidents at work resulting in lost time, you can also calculate it in two other ways:
- by counting all reported accidents at work, even those that did not result in lost time (TF2 frequency rate),
- by counting all accidents reported, as well as minor accidents (TF3 frequency rate).
A minor accident is a workplace accident that does not require medical attention or time off work.
Formula for calculating the frequency rate (TF2)Number of accidents reported / Number of hours worked x 1,000,000
Formula for calculating the frequency rate (TF3)Number of accidents reported + minor accidents / Number of hours worked x 1,000,000
Calculation of the frequency index
This indicator calculates the average number of days off work caused by an occupational accident per 1,000 employees.
Calculating the frequency indexNumber of work-related accidents with lost time / Average annual workforce (FTE) x 1,000
Calculating the severity of accidents
What is the severity rate? The severity rate measures the seriousness of an accident at work: the longer the time off work, the more serious the accident.
The frequency rate can be supplemented by two indicators:
- the severity rate,
- and the severity index.
The severity rate
To calculate the severity rate, we need to take into account the number of working days lost as a result of the stoppage, including potential relapses, and the number of days of stoppage over the year N.
Calculation of the severity rate (SR)Number of working days lost / Number of hours worked x 1,000
The severity index
If the accident at work results in a disability beyond the time lost from work, this indicator allows this to be taken into account by means of the permanent disability rate.
It is determined in consultation with an Assurance Maladie doctor if the accident at work has left after-effects.
Calculation of the severity index (SI)Total permanent disability rate / Number of hours worked x 1,000,000
Easily calculate the frequency rate with software
What if you abandoned your Excel files full of complicated formulas, and automated the calculation of your accidentology indicators and their graphical representation?
There's nothing like HR software to make it easier to monitor occupational risk, and to be more efficient in implementing preventive and corrective measures.
Factorial, all-in-one HRIS software
Factorial is a comprehensive tool for very small businesses and SMEs that digitises HR processes. Already adopted by more than 60,000 companies, Factorial offers a fluid, modern interface for managing and optimising all your company's HR processes. There's also a special health and safety section for your employees, covering a range of indicators for their well-being.
With Factorial :
- management of accidents at work and commuting accidents, with calculation of the frequency rate, the severity rate, the rate and the amount paid to social security for the accident at work contribution, etc,
- monitoring employees' occupational illnesses,
- taking charge of the classification code for the material elements of accidents for a breakdown of accidents by type,
- budgeting for prevention and safety, and details of health, safety and working conditions committees.
GrafiQ, a tool for managing HR and occupational risk
GrafiQ by QuickMS is a 100% digital social management solution that helps VSEs, SMEs and SMIs to manage and automate their human resources. The tool gives you access to over 800 indicators in just a few clicks using DSN files. In particular, you can calculate and monitor occupational risks by creating your own customised dashboards.
With GrafiQ you can :
- record the number of accidents at work,
- categorise accidents at work according to different criteria to facilitate analysis (by cause, period, gender, etc.),
- comment on your dashboards to provide context and additional information,
- easy access to frequency and severity rates,
- track changes in indicators from one year to the next,
- carry out analyses by establishment, department or organisational unit.
Prévisoft, a specialised occupational safety management solution
Prévisoft is a software package specialising in occupational health and safety management. Available online, this solution helps small and large companies to manage work-related accidents and illnesses. It has specific modules to adapt to your sector: management of chemical risks, risks associated with equipment or waste, etc.
With Prévisoft :
- declaration of accidents at work and transmission to the Assurance Maladie,
- management of relapses, extensions to leave and monitoring of the duration of leave,
- Supervision and organisation of employee medical check-ups (planning, invitations, etc.),
- reporting minor accidents,
- calculating frequency and severity rates.
The average frequency rate in France
When we take a serious look at the subject of accidents at work resulting in time off work and the frequency rate, we naturally try to compare it with other companies to find out whether we are above or below the average.
The average frequency rate in France is 22.7
This figure gives an idea of the national average, but it is not very relevant to use it to make a comparison with your own company, because not all trades and sectors are subject to the same level of risk.
For example, the average frequency rate in metallurgy or road transport will logically be higher than that of a bank.
Here are the average rates by sector in the same Assurance Maladie report:
Sectors of activity | Frequency rate |
Food | 29,2 |
CONSTRUCTION | 38,9 |
Wood, furniture, paper-cardboard, textiles | 27,4 |
Chemicals, rubber, plastics | 16,6 |
Non-food trade | 14,8 |
Metallurgy | 19,5 |
Services I (banking, insurance, etc.) | 7,8 |
Services II (health) and temporary work | 32,2 |
Transport, EME, books, communication | 28,6 |
What's more, not all departments and professions within a company are subject to the same level of occupational risk.
Towards a culture of risk prevention
Tracking changes in the frequency index and other indicators such as the severity rate gives a true picture of how well occupational risk is being managed, and enables more precise action to be taken.
Above all, however, companies need to establish a genuine culture of prevention within their establishments. Managers and other employees need to be made aware of these risks so that they can be better identified, neutralised or avoided.
Encouraging the reporting of minor accidents and other safety-related incidents enables better feedback and hence better risk analysis, so that preventive rather than corrective action can be taken.