Measuring Levels of Sickness Absence, The Bradford Score, and Using Trigger Points

  1. Absence levels - measurement and assessment
  2. The Bradford Score
  3. Using Trigger Points

Absence levels - measurement and assessment

The management and monitoring of individual or company-wide levels of sickness-absence is greatly facilitated by the use of summary measures. Summaries can be calculated for individual workers, groups of workers (e.g. work departments, age groups, gender) or for the entire workforce.

Sickness-absence summaries can be used for example to:

Two principal aspects of sickness-absence are used - frequency of absence and length of absence.

Frequency of sickness-absence - common measures used include:

 Length of sickness-absence - common measures used include:

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The Bradford Score

The Bradford Score is used as a summary measure of sickness absence which combines information on both frequency and length of sickness-absence. The score is calculated as: the number of spells of absence squared, multiplied by the total number of days absent, (i.e. (NumberOfSpells)2 x TotalDays).

The Bradford Score seeks to indicate the composition of an individual's sickness-absence record, i.e. whether it comprises a few spells of long duration or many spells of short duration and it gives increased weight to higher instances of short term absence, which is viewed by some as being more disruptive.

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Trigger points

Trigger points are used in many sickness absence monitoring systems to highlight levels or patterns of sickness absence that require further attention, and to determine where and when action by managers (e.g. employee interview or review of absences) may be beneficial. Typical triggers include:

Trigger points can be set in the SART tool to highlight patterns or instances of absence that may warrant further examination. These are described more fully here.

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