Six Ways to Create an Impactful Safety Program

safety-program-graphic-2Employee safety is a top priority in the construction and manufacturing industries.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), businesses spend close to $170 billion each year on costs associated with occupational illnesses and injuries. The money that covers these expenditures comes right out of the profits of the organization.

So how can a company avoid these costs? One option is through the use of a safety incentive program.

When properly designed and implemented, a safety incentive program can help keep safety top of mind and yield sustainable results. Employers with a program in place create a culture of safety first while motivating employees to practice safe processes.

Incorporating a travel incentive into a safety program is an effective way to increase engagement in and excitement about a safety initiative.

What does OSHA say about Safety Incentive Programs?

OSHA is the main federal agency charged with the enforcement of safety and health legislation. This agency claims that safety and health management systems can reduce injury and illness costs by 20-40%. OSHA does not prohibit participation in safety incentive programs, however the organization discourages participation in any incentive program that is based on reporting of injuries.

A better approach is to design a safety incentive program that promotes, recognizes, and rewards safe working behaviors and conditions.

OSHA makes several recommendations on ways to make safety incentive programs work:

  1. Make the program behavior based (not injury rate based).
  2. Employers provide incentives to associates practicing safe operating procedures and practices.
  3. Focus on reporting near- miss, hazardous behavior (leading vs lagging indicators).
  4. Acknowledge safe behavior in a timely manner and recognize these achievements in front of coworkers to encourage others to replicate the behavior.
  5. Involve employees in a safety program that is dynamic and encourages participation in a wide variety of activities.
  6. When possible, allow employees to set safety goals for themselves that encourage participation.
  7. Incentivize with a non-cash reward to get the most “bang for buck.”

*According to the Incentive Research Foundation non-cash rewards like travel are proven to be 2-3 times more effective than cash