A capacity index to replace flawed incident-based metrics for worker safety

Sidney W.A. Dekker*, Michael Tooma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


The shortcomings of incident-based metrics for worker safety such as total recordable incident frequency rate (TRIFR) are well documented. In particular, a low TRIFR is no assurance against legal liability. There is considerable overlap between the literature on safety as the presence of capacities to make things go well, and jurisprudence in labour and workplace safety law on employer due diligence. In this article, the authors propose an index that merges the two, measuring the capacities to acquire and maintain safety knowledge, to understand the nature of operations, to resource for safety, to respond to risks, to demonstrate engagement and compliance, and for assurance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-393
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Labour Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • capacity index
  • legal compliance
  • occupational accident
  • occupational injury
  • occupational safety
  • safety management


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