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Why build a safety incentives program?

Rachel Reed
8/1/19 11:29 AM

Safety incentive programs are cost-saving. Safety violations can cost industrial organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, not to mention medical (worker’s compensation), administrative, and lost productivity expenses. 

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) adjusts penalties for employer violations based on inflation no later than Jan. 15 of each year, creating added pressure on employers year over year. Adjusted penalties for 2019 include:

  • Serious violations, other than serious violations, and posting violations rose from $12,934 to $13,260 per violation.
  • Failure to abate increased from $12,934 to $13,260 per day after the date recorded on an OSHA citation for correction of the violation.
  • Willful or repeated violations rose from $129,336 to $132,598 per violation.

Out of 4,674 worker fatalities in 2017, twenty percent (one in five) were in construction. The total cost of work injuries in 2017 was $161.5 billion. Here are four tips for building an effective safety incentives program: 

  1. Make safety a core value
    When safety becomes a core element of your company’s mission alongside traditional values (integrity, excellence, quality, etc.), and behavior associated with safety is regularly recognized and rewarded, employees are more likely to work toward fulfilling the mission.

  2. Keep rewards individual
    Ensure that safety motivation applies to the company as a whole, and keep recognition and rewards focused on individual achievement. Employees who are individually recognized for avoiding safety violations and incidents are more likely to remain engaged and vigilant. 

  3. Make safety incentives programs engaging
    Be sure to create excitement around a new incentives program not only around its launch, but consistently moving forward. Keep your training, recognition, and rewards centralized within in a streamlined, digital environment. Make the process of tracking achievements and redeeming rewards simple to avoid barriers to entry. Create a brand around your incentives complete with a program name, logo, and consistent communication. 

  4. Prioritize Management Commitment
    Encourage management to include employees in the development of safety initiatives and commit to safety incentives programs–employees who feel managers are involved in (not micromanaging) day-to-day operations are more likely to believe in the mission and work to exceed expectations. 



Download: How Employee Recognition Influences Attitude & Behavior in the Workplace 

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