Safety Incentive Programs-July 2012

Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety 

July 2012

IN THIS ISSUE: Safety Incentive Programs

Many workplaces use a safety incentive program to reduce the number of accidents, injuries, and associated cost. Of these, rate-based programs that emphasize the number of accidents reported (i.e. employee bonuses for an injury-free year) are the most common. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), these incentives may cause employees to withhold reporting injuries without lessening the number of actual injuries. This perpetuates an unsafe workplace where hazards remain unmitigated. On the other hand, behavior-based safety programs that use rewards to encourage employees to follow rules that prevent accidents (i.e. rewards for attending trainings or reporting a hazard) are more successful and effective.

“Prevention is the key in a behavior-based program,” explains Gary R. Ticker, CIH, CSP, of OccuSafe, Inc. “Employees become aware and responsible, and safety is seen as a positive – not a problem.”  

Characteristics of an Effective Safety Incentive Program

Safety incentive programs can effectively reduce injury if tied to identified safe behaviors and measured to make sure that they are working. 

  1. Focus on Prevention NOT Injury Rates. Train employees to identify behaviors that prevent injury. Have a drawing for tickets to local sporting events for anyone who reports an unsafe behavior or a workplace hazard. Posting signs about how many days without a lost-time injury does not focus on prevention.
  2. Recognize Individual and Group Successes. Provide lunch for a department once every member has completed annual respirator training. For individuals, reward an employee that can identify the MSDS and label that goes with a container in her/his work area.
  3. Create a Safety Committee of Employees. Recruit employees from different departments to become Safety Committee members. Teach them to “talk safety” among their coworkers.
  4. Promote Safety. Design a promotional campaign that grabs attention. Make a special jacket, shirt, or ball cap for Safety Committee members or to hand out as a reward.
  5. Make Safety Fun. Give safety bingo cards to employees who conduct a safety inspection so the process is more engaging.
  6. Change It Up. Once the behavior has been learned, stop the incentive and go on to another. 

For more information on this topic and to discuss your company’s safety and industrial hygiene needs call OccuSafe at (214) 662-6005 or (303) 219-6973 or visit us at

OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety, Inc. provides skills and expertise to recognize, evaluate andcontrol hazards and injuries in the areas of industrial hygiene, occupational safety andhealth. OccuSafe services companies of all sizes in a range of industries.

This newsletter is published monthly by OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety, Inc. Feel free to forward it to friends and colleagues.

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