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Safety Incentive Programs: Fresh Ideas to Help Identify and Mitigate Workplace Safety Risks

Creating a safer workplace is an important priority for Connecticut employers.  After all, a culture of workplace safety reduces injuries and workers’ compensation claims, improves morale, and increases productivity.

Still, employers struggle to increase day-to-day compliance.  Competitive safety programs that reward incident-free track records may seem like a good way to increase workplace safety; however, such programs may inadvertently backfire, by incenting workers to “cover up” near misses – instead of addressing them head-on.

Workplace Safety Incentive Programs

The best way to create a safer workplace is by turning your employees into safety champions.  Use these ideas to re-energize your safety incentive program, by encouraging cooperation and rewarding proactive safety behavior:

  • Safety Bucks. Design and print “Safety Bucks” in different denominations to reward your employees when they:  recognize hazards, complete safety-related training, write-up job safety analyses, etc.  Employees can use the currency to buy whatever incentives you’d like to offer.
  • Safety Suggestion Box. Appoint a Safety Committee (which should include management) and have them distribute suggestion boxes throughout your location.  Invite employees to submit their concerns about health hazards, unsafe acts, dangerous work conditions, etc., as well as ideas for addressing them.  Each month, have the Safety Committee review suggestions and vote to select the best.  Recognize the winner by posting his name, photo, and suggestion, along with the action your company will take as a result of the submission.
  • Find the Hidden Hazards. Publish a cartoon depicting a safety hazard each month in your company newsletter or other regular employee communication document.  Make some more challenging to identify than others!  Ask employees to spot the hidden hazard in each and keep track of their guesses on a submission form.  At the end of the year, collect the forms and give rewards to the employees who correctly identify the most.
  • Most Improved Award. Once a month, have a manager and one member of your Safety Committee (rotate this person monthly) inspect various work locations.  Ask them to independently score each location and submit their scores to an administrative assistant (who is not part of the Safety Committee).  Have the assistant keep track of each location’s average scores and present a “Most Improved Award” to the location that shows the greatest improvement each month.

How Do You Do It?

How does your company reward employees to stay safe on the job?  Have you developed any unique safety incentive programs that have created exceptional safety improvements?  We at A.R. Mazzotta would love to know.