What is the best way to incentivize your employees when it comes to safety?
While statistics show that safety incentive programs can reduce occupational injury and illness rates by up to 40 percent, there are better and worse ways to do use them. So, how can you make sure that your safety incentive program is giving you the best return on investment? Most companies have been incentivizing employees based on lagging safety indicators, which, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), is a violation of federal health and safety laws since it encourages employees not to report workplace illness and injuries in hopes of attaining a reward.
How, then, do you properly incentivize your employees when it comes to safety? Well, according to OSHA, safety incentives based on leading indicators are safety incentives done right. Instead of trying to buy your employees’ commitment to safety with monetary or tangible rewards, consider approaches that would encourage your employees to take personal responsibility for safety. This can be achieved by involving your employees in the safety process. You should encourage your employees to take part in safety inspections, accident investigations, as well as to join safety committees. These activities will promote proactive behavior, like making safety suggestions to others, identifying workplace hazards, and even paying attention during safety meetings.
Proactive behaviors like these should be recognized and rewarded. One of the most effective ways is through the use of a point-based system, whereby employees can redeem their points for days off. Additionally, allow employees to set their own goals regarding safety, such as making it a personal aim to go home each day without injury. Giving employees a sense of independence allows them to not only be flexible in their jobs, but will also contribute to more desirable performance, especially where safety is concerned.
Finally, make education a key contributing factor to the success of your incentive safety program. Since the aim is to encourage and promote positive behavior, it is important to teach your employees these desired behaviors. Furthermore, the implementation of education and training programs may help curb the number of employees whose main focus is just to win the prize.
Remember, incentive programs based on leading indicators are about reinforcing behaviors that makes the workplace safe. Therefore, incentivizing employees when it comes to safety all boils down to rewarding and recognizing positive attitudes and behaviors towards safety.
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