Republic Services, one of the largest waste recycling and disposal services in the world (with over 14 million customers), wanted to implement a company- wide safety recognition/rewards program for over 25,000 safety-sensitive employees. The program desired would promote safer work practices, reinforcing safety training, and enhancing the overall safety culture. While the program needed to promote safety throughout the company, it needed to have an emphasis on drivers, heavy equipment operators and mechanics whose positions were particularly safety-sensitive. The program strategy would be to improve employee engagement levels in order to help lower its liability risks, reduce the frequency of accidents, decrease its OSHA incident rate, and reduce its workers’ compensation costs.
Republic Services provides non-hazardous solid waste collection and recycling services for commercial, industrial, municipal, and residential customers. The expansive company has 340 collection operations, 200+ transfer stations, 71 recycling facilities, 68 landfill gas and renewable energy projects each with an internal management staff located in 47 states and Puerto Rico. They serve millions of residential customers under terms of contracts with more than 2,800 municipalities for waste collection and recycling services.
To meet the client’s needs, the program had to accommodate two tiers of safety-sensitive employees each with unique award qualification criteria. Furthermore, the program design needed to be embraced by both the union and non-union divisions of the company, and it had to accommodate non- English speaking participants, and a workforce with no internet access at work.Republic also wanted the program to be easy to administer by field managers and wanted it to support its customer focused Dedicated to Excellence (DTE) program as well.
On behalf of Republic Services, All Star Incentive Marketing® created and launched a bilingual online/off-line plateau level program titled “The Dedicated to Safety (DTS) Rewards Program.” This program allows Republic employees to earn DTS Safety Points based on their behavior, to bank/save their points over time, and to redeem them for higher-level awards. The fully customized program website was created by All Star, who also currently hosts, updates, manages, and reports on all site activity. The program is further supported with a host of printed materials, designed and produced by All Star, includingbi-annual award catalogs/fliers, annual posters, manager and participant letters, and other materials. All program materials include Republic Services’ corporate colors, logos, and imagery, together with the imagery of the custom- branded DTS Program. The program was designed to seamlessly handle award orders from both online and off-line participants. The rotating banners on the award website are used to communicate and highlight overall and division level success throughout the program. Awarding workers for their safety performance is done through point uploads and sub-admin site activity by managers.
To facilitate the division level deployment of the program and to minimize the impact on Division Managers, All Star initially produced and distributed program launch kits to each division. Each kit contained Division Manager welcome letters, participant announcement letters, posters, voucher order forms, catalogs, and a training video. To facilitate promotion to the safety-sensitive employees, Division Managers were instructed to distribute the materials and promote the program during scheduled safety meetings. All Star worked closely with Republic Services’ safety team to design the program and handled every aspect of the DTS program ongoing management including print production, web hosting, award sourcing, award fulfillment, and reporting. As an additional recognition component, all award shipments are accompanied by a card insert designed to thank the award recipient for working
safe and to reinforce the Dedicated to Safety Rewards Program initiatives. Surveys and quizzes that reinforce safety training are also used and provide bonus point opportunities for workers and drive traffic to the award site which also serves as one of the company’s primary communications tools. Additional program components (such as; training, spot recognition, wellness, etc.) have been tested or added as new challenges and opportunities arise.
Republic Services Dedicated to Safety (DTS) Rewards Program has now been running continuously for approximately 20 years and has successfully helped the company improve employee engagement, raise safety awareness, enhanced overall workplace safety, and improve communications. The program’s success was evident early on as the company experienced a claims drop of more than 60% in the first few years alone. As frequency dropped, so too did severity and, as a result, Republic enjoyed a similar overall drop in its insurance and other safety related costs. These improvement have saved the company tens of millions of dollars since program inception, and helped to create the safest company in the solid waste industry.
Many industry experts estimate that companies with safety-sensitive workers who operate in high-risk environments experience annual safety-related cost increases
in the 7-10% range. The reasons for such painful increases range from regulatory
and environmental issues, employee turnover, and inflation related to legal and compliance costs. Despite this fact, and despite rapid company-wide growth (both organic and M&A), Republic Services has managed to greatly reduce its safety related costs over the life of the program while simultaneously improving both safety and the bottom line!
The incredible success of the DTS Rewards Program has led to recognition
on a national stage as the program has earned the prestigious IMA Circle of Excellence award in the category of safety. Ongoing enhancements include further communication of company goals and interactive components like safety pledges, social wall, slogan & kids’ coloring contests. Looking forward, the DTS Rewards Program will now go further towards addressing not just workplace safety but also training, wellness, and safety in the home for Republic Services employees and their families.
Safety Reward & Recognition