How Safety Incentives Play a Role in Workplace Safety
Regardless of the work environment—from a chaotic warehouse to a laid-back office—workplace safety is an essential responsibility of employers. Company owners and their safety management teams must ensure employees' safety for their well-being, and the financial health and brand reputation of the organization.
Employers often rely on the work safety regulations set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), but they must also find unique ways to incorporate them, while boosting engagement and safety program commitment. By seeking out effective, OSHA-compliant safety incentive programs, employers can enlist employees’ full support and participation, working to ensure their daily safety while performing their tasks with little interruption.
What Is a Safety Incentive Program?
A safety incentive program offers workers rewards and recognition for achieving certain safety-related goals in the workplace. Rewards might include:
- Engraved or monogrammed items
- Gift certificates
- Special mentions in newsletters, blog posts, and meetings and ceremonies
Most safety-conscious employers focus on identification, measurement, and improvement as the most significant leading indicators of an effective safety strategy. These programs involve capturing historical data of various reported hazards, developing predictive trends, and determining ROI to keep employees safe.
Safety Incentive programs help employers inspire employees to share the organization's vision of safety for everyone. The goal is to encourage employees to want to become more involved and invested in creating and developing a workplace safety culture.
What Types of Safety Incentive Programs Are There?
There are two primary types of safety incentive strategies commonly employed today:
- Rate-Based: Rewards employees for earning low rates of reported illnesses or injuries.
- Behavior-Based: Rewards employees based on certain positive safety-related behaviors, including reporting a potential safety issue and recommending improvements
What Are Key Elements That Go Into a Safety Incentive Program?
Designing a safety incentive program relies on many variables, but there are some key components to developing one that fits most organizations:
- Standard operation procedure
- A safety policy that applies to every executive, employee, customer, and visitor
- A policy that thoroughly describes each employee's responsibilities in the workplace
- A committee of appointed safety experts who focus on health, safety, and environmental concerns in the workplace
- Policies and methods for appropriate corrective action
- Management support and participation in safety strategies
- Safety performance appraisal system
- Custom-tailored programs that align with each business's budget
How to Manage a Safety Incentive Program Effectively
A high-caliber safety management program relies on support from experts who know how to engage employees, encouraging them to become an integral part of your safety team. Here are the best ways to manage a safety incentive program:
- Define, develop, and stay focused on the goal of the safety program
- Monitor the nature and size of your business regularly, including the number of employees and satellite locations
- Ensure active and consistent management support
- Set your initial budget for the program, and adjust it as needed to ensure optimal workplace safety
- Assign or elect a panel of judges who review reported hazards and incidents to assess what happened and consider corrective strategies
- Maintain effective communication that announces employees' safety achievements
It is also vital to remind employees that safety is the core focus and that, while the incentives are to reward them for their above-and-beyond efforts, the goal is not only to win prizes. Most employers offering safety incentive programs want to create a more positive environment overall, therefore, the program should come across as engaging, rewarding, entertaining, easy-to-understand and easy-to-manage, flexible, and loyal to the rules. Safety incentive programs also encourage employee initiative and promote accountability for themselves and fellow employees.
What Makes a Successful Safety Program and How Do You Measure Its Effectiveness?
The most important component of a successful safety program is, of course, fewer accidents and injuries. However, there are other ways to measure your safety program's effectiveness:
- Creates Positive and Productive Workplace Environments. When properly managed, a safety program reveals a smooth-running safety culture where everyone strives to stay safe and help keep fellow employees and management safe
- Improves Workplace Standards. Employers often note an improved attitude toward overall higher standards in the workplace, including safety, housekeeping, and cleanliness
- Boosts Employee Happiness. By providing a safe work environment, employees feel valued and happier. Employees appreciate your recognition of their safety needs
- Reduces Absenteeism. Whether due to less injury or illness or their appreciation of working in a safe work environment, employees are less likely to miss work in companies that provide safety programs
- Decreases Number of Workers' Compensation Claims. When safety programs are in place and working, fewer employees are injured and need to file worker's compensation benefit (WCB) insurance claims, which in turn lowers WCB rating, which helps you remain in high esteem with your clients
- Enhances the Business Profile to Retain Loyal Customers and Earn New Ones. Ensuring safety for your employees looks good to your clients. No one wants to associate with businesses that do not care about the health and safety of their employees, so you will instantly impress your clients when you discuss your well-designed and maintained workplace safety program
- Minimizes Workplace Disruption. Any time an accident occurs, it sets off a chain of events that disrupt standard operating procedures. Besides tending to the initial event, you must investigate the incident completely, interviewing the injured worker and anyone else in the vicinity. Your safety team must inspect the area. If there are any insurance claims made, you must attend to the ongoing administrative needs of the case. Therefore, preventing accidents through a dedicated workplace safety program is vital to maintaining productivity
How to Keep Your Employees Involved and Committed to Your Safety Program
Every employee wants to stay safe, but it isn't always an easy task to maintain consistent safety engagement. Businesses continually search for ways to create and cultivate a highly functional workplace safety program. One of the best strategies is to keep employees involved and passionate about safety is to launch a safety incentive program.
C.A. Short Company has more than 80 years of experience helping companies improve employee engagement and developing rewarding and effective incentive programs. Contact us today to learn how we can improve your current safety program.