Monday, April 23, 2012

New Safety Incentive Program

SAFETY INCENTIVE PROGRAMS have always been a hot topic in the safety profession. Some feel you shouldn't have to entice employees to do what is expected of them anyway. Others feel these programs are essential to get employees to pay attention to safety policies and procedures. OSHA is the latest group to chime in on the subject. OSHA has launched a national emphasis program on record keeping and they have listed incentive programs as a possible cause for under-reporting of work-related injuries and illnesses. With increased attention from OSHA, safety incentive programs are being reevaluated by many companies. Almost all studies on the subject come to the following conclusions:
  1. Incentive award programs need to be changed periodically or they become stale and lose their effectiveness.
  2. If awards and bonuses are too easy, employees begin to view them as entitlements, not something to be earned. These programs tend to backfire and create more hard feelings rather than promote safe behaviors and attitudes.
  3. Positive recognition for a job well done is a better motivator than punishment for not meeting expectations.
  4. Awards and recognition need to be timely. Awards and bonuses distributed at the end of the year have little effect on day to day behaviors and attitudes toward safety.
  5. Safety incentives can create peer pressure among work crews. Peer pressure can be good if it encourages safe behaviors, or it can be negative if it encourages covering up work-related incidents and near misses.
In light of these findings, Kinsley will be restructuring the employee Safety Incentive Program this year. We still feel that incentives are an important part of our Safety Program, but also want to change things up a little to re-energize the program.

One of Kinsley’s new safety program incentives are the Safety Recognition Awards. The Safety Department will recognize outstanding safety performance on job sites or among work crews with these awards. Safety Recognition Awards may include lunches, gift certificates, t-shirts, or similar items. Recognition Awards will be awarded to crews going above and beyond the normal safety rules and policies.

In addition to the Safety Recognition Awards, we have also instituted Safety Prizes, a Weekly Drawing, and a Grand Prize Drawing

We hope the new prizes and awards will reenergize our Safety Incentive Program. The goal of the program is to increase employee’s awareness and participation in the safety program, not just win prizes. With safer job sites, we all win.

Article written by:
William McCaffrey, CSP
Director of Safety