OSHA’s Evolving Position on Safety Incentive Programs – Part 2

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This is the second in a four-part series relating to OSHA’s evolving position on Safety Incentive Programs


As I mentioned in the first post, this information relates to the clarification that OSHA issued in October of this year on its “Position on Workplace Safety Incentive Programs”.  Now that OSHA has more fully endorsed these programs it is helpful to review what a properly designed program looks like.


One of fundamental rules in creating successful and compliant safety recognition/rewards (incentive) programs is to communicate group goals while rewarding for individual behaviors.  Doing so will not only result in the most successful programs with the greatest ROI, it will also insure against accident/injury hiding.


Older programs often did the exact opposite; they would reward almost exclusively for group accomplishments, as in “…if everyone on the second shift is safe this month everyone will get…”  Worse yet, very often what a worker would get if their entire group was safe was a raffle-style chance to win a big prize like a pickup truck.  In those scenarios, the fear of letting the group down (and losing a chance at an overly large prize) could result in accident hiding as a natural consequence of human nature.


If, instead, a program is designed to issue moderate valued awards to individuals based on their individual safety accomplishments, the problem of accident hiding will be eliminated.  Companies still can, and should, communicate group goals to create companywide enthusiasm for safety, just be sure to reward the individual along the way to create a true win-win scenario.


The next post in this series of four will address the last of my keys to success:

  • The need for successful programs to use tangible awards and a tangible award method



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