Introducing the Social Incident Frequency Rate


By Wayne McPhee

Ontario, Canada

Using metrics like the Environmental Incident Frequency Rate (EIFR) and the Social Incident Frequency Rate (SIFR) has the potential to improve the project delivery especially for heavy construction and resource development projects. The concepts of EIFR and SIFR look to build on the huge positive impact of safety metrics on project delivery to improve sustainability on heavy construction and resource development projects by adapting safety metrics for environmental and social performance?

It is easy to argue that the project management metric with the biggest impact on project sustainability is the Total Recordable Incident Frequency Rate (TRIFR) that has changed construction projects from counting deaths per project to striving for zero harm.

A number of firms have started to use a comparable metric, the Environmental Incident Frequency Rate (EIFR) in order to track and create continuous improvement with respect to environmental performance. The Environmental Incident Frequency Rate (EIFR) has been defined as the number of ‘recordable’ environmental incidents per 200,000 hours worked.

The definitions are not fully developed but a recordable environmental incident could include significant incidents relating to the environment and could include:

  • a reportable spill/release,
  • a release into water,
  • a release of air pollutants at levels above allowable, permitted levels,
  • a legitimate external complaint about the environment (i.e. noise/dust), or
  • any fine or non-compliance finding by a regulatory agency

There are a number of organizations that currently or historically have used EIFR to track environmental performance including Amec Foster Wheeler, Rio Tinto and other mining companies. Since EIFR is not an established metric, it will be important to refine the metric over time as we learn from project experience and there is a better understanding of what constitutes a ‘recordable’ incident in environmental terms.


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About the Author

Wayne McPhee

Ontario, Canada


Wayne McPhee
is a Sustainability Consultant who has focused on integrating environmental and social sustainability issues into mining, construction, industrial and real estate projects including developing sustainability management systems and project metrics. You can connect with Wayne on LinkedIn at https://ca.linkedin.com/in/waynemcphee