DART Safety: Days away, restricted or transferred safety metric
What is DART?
DART in safety terms, or days away, restricted or transferred is an important safety metric which companies, projects and authorities use to measure the combination of injuries and illnesses which caused workers to remain away from work, restricted their work activity or resulted in a job or activity transfer within a calendar year.
There are multiple injury KPI's in the safety space, and each have their own specific role to play in understanding overall safety.
DART is useful because it factors in the severity of the injury or illness in that it had a very tangible impact on the worker and their wellbeing - as well as an impact on the company and it's operations.
In fact, DART is unique in that it enables management and safety teams to see those missable times when a worker must restrict their work activity or transfer roles entirely, which can have a profound impact on productivity and draw attention to the less visible but debilitating issues associated with certain aspects of projects or work.
How do companies and projects use the DART safety metric?
DART is used in a similar way to other lagging safety indicators like lost time injury frequency rate, to enable workers, safety teams and companies to take a look back at a specific period of time and assess that specific measure of safety performance.
A 'good' or low DART may highlight improvements in site or workplace safety, while an increasing DART may be a red flag and require some investigation into the root causes behind the poor performance.
DART is not a perfect metric of course, and so companies need to be aware of the other variables involved in the outcome of this particular measurements. For example, a lower DART may simply mean that the projects which were worked on were less dangerous than in previous years, which doesn't mean there was any improvement - just different circumstances.
The other thing to remember about all safety metrics is that correlation does not equal causation. A decrease in DART on a specific project doesn't mean the new safety processes are working. It might indicate that, but you need a combination and thorough analysis of more than one variable and one metric to come to firm conclusions.
Low DART scores can be a red or green flag to authorities and regulators who are looking to prioritise their time in terms of inspections and audits.
And high profile companies like Tesla can even have their DART scores hit the headlines. in 2014, Telsla's DART rate of 7.1 injuries per 100 workers won them all the wrong headlines, because this DART rate was 69% higher than their industry average.
Safety is becoming an increasingly important topic of discussion amongst companies, projects and the public, who all have growing expectations about the environments companies create and foster.
DART safety scores and industry averages
While it's imperative that companies and projects are largely inwardly focused on making progress on their own safety metrics, there is of course some value in measuring performance against other similar companies and industries.
DART scores can of course be compared across companies - no matter their size or industry - because the DART calculation is standardised per 100 full-time workers.
This means that there is some good data on DART industry averages and scores.
The table below gives you a good idea of some of these industry averages, with these workplace safety statistics being collected in 2015.
|Industry||DART rate (per 100 workers)|
|Educational and health services||1.7|
|Colleges, universities, and schools||0.8|
|Health care and social assistance||4.3|
|Nursing and residential care facilities||7.4|
|Justice, public order and safety activities||3.3|
|Trade, transport and utilities||4.2|
|Transportation and warehousing||4.8|
As you can see from the DART safety data, there are some pretty sizeable difference between different industry averages, and this is of course largely expected.
Working in a college or university comes with a very different (smaller) set of dangers than working on a construction site, in fire protection or transportation and warehousing.
Some of these industries don't need much of a focus on DART rates, while others (those with the traditionally higher ones) have been looking to lower these rates across the board.
Measuring DART as a safety metric
Talking about and referencing DART safety metrics and industry averages is the easy part, but actually keeping track of and measuring DART accurately can be more of a challenge for many companies.
The fact that DART safety involves workers taking time away from work or transitioning roles (milestones) makes it easy to track than some of the more subtle metrics, but there are still some very real challenges in data capture and reconciliation.
For many companies (especially in the Americas), using the OSHA 300 log to collect information on recordable incidents can be enough. Being able to look back through the log is a decent way of keeping track and calculating DART at the end of a specific period.
For other companies, using smart tools like EHS softwares is a great way to streamline and alleviate some of the data collection headaches associated with most safety metrics.
A lower admin burden is one of the great benefits of these systems, but they also enable real-time access to DART figures and data which may have taken weeks or months to compile using traditional methods.
Document, track and update DART in real-time using this software.
Days away, restricted and transferred can have a serious impact on people's lives, the outcomes or projects and the success of many businesses. As we have seen, it can also have an impact on how a company is perceived, which can have a flow on effect on how a company is treated by auditors and inspectors, authorities, the media (when a company is high profile) and current and future employees.
Like all good safety metrics, DART is a useful tool in the safety improvement arsenal, and companies should track, measure and analyse it in a way which results in tangible corrective actions and process changes which should improve safety outcomes.
Most companies and projects can't afford to have their workers off work or anything less than 100% productive, and people certainly don't want to be incapable of going to work or performing their job - so lowering that DART rate as much as possible is mutually beneficial to all stakeholders.