For multiple industries, employees put themselves in life-threatening environments everyday. While workplace injuries and fatalities have decreased over the years, in 2019 OSHA reported an average 14 workplace fatalities occurred everyday. No employee goes to work thinking they will be involved in a workplace accident, however there are ways to incentivize safe behavior and encourage safe working environments. 

What is a Safety Incentive Program? 

A Safety Incentive Program is often confused with being a safety program, however there are some key differences that can influence your programs success. Your safety program defines your standard operating procedures, guidelines, and policies for defining and managing safety within your organization. A safety incentive program is designed to encourage employees to go above and beyond and complement the existing safety program. Without existing guidelines of your safety program, your incentives would lack structure and undefined goals, therefore you must have a solid safety program before incorporating incentives. 

OSHA Compliant Safety Incentives

When creating your incentive program several important considerations should be assessed, OSHA guidelines and ROI. In 2016, OSHA implemented aggressive guidance that discouraged employers from rewarding employees for successfully hitting low injury rates. They have since published an amendment to the clause, which does not prohibit safety incentives, however they must be implemented in a strategic way for success. 

OSHA allows all programs, but emphasizes that rate based programs must not discourage workers from reporting. In years past, many safety programs gave rewards for every 30 days the site went without a lost-time accident. This would encourage peers to hold each other accountable and were designed to raise awareness of safety. However, in the event of an accident the reward would be retracted, and would sometimes cause incidents to be under-reported or worse, unreported. Now to combat this, OSHA recommends implementing a program rewarding workers for reporting unsafe conditions.

Encourage Participation at All Levels

Your safety incentive program should aim to recognize all employees and stimulate engagement at all levels. Without the support of upper-level management the program will likely be unsuccessful. Endorsement from all levels of management will show employees that the organization is committed to the overall success of the program. 

The Management Team are also the ones determining the amount spent on rewards, which is crucial to the success of the program. When initiating incentive-based rewards, the incentive must be enticing in order to stimulate safe behavior. If management does not show support in the program, this will likely be seen in the types of rewards given to employees. 

Awards Must Be Genuine and Worth Achieving

As mentioned above, the awards must be enticing enough to encourage safe behavior among employees. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, it has been estimated that employers pay almost $1 billion per week for direct workers' compensation costs alone. In the grand scheme of things, a safety incentive program is a small price to pay when compared to the amount shelled out for workplace injuries and fatalities. 

Aside from a return on investment, your incentive programs can be meaningful and showcase how you genuinely care for the safety of your employees. Rewards do not always have to be monetary based and can be initiated through social recognition, eCards, and badging. When using a safety-incentive program combined with our People Are Everything™ platform, you can allow employees to exchange points for items they feel will satisfy their personal needs while serving as a reminder of their safety accomplishments. 


Creating a safety incentive program that resonates with your employees and encourages safe behaviors can help reduce accidents and promote a culture of safety. By partnering with the C.A. Short Company, we can help you ensure your program fits within your goals and objectives while improving ROI. Contact Us today to schedule your free demo of our OSHA compliant safety incentive programs!

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