Workplace Safety Programs 101
Statistically speaking, the American workplace is the safest that it has ever been. According to OSHA and their state partners, worker related injuries and illnesses are down over 263% in the past 4 decades. This is due in large part to the forward thinking efforts of employers, unions, safety professionals and advocates that have championed workplace safety initiatives.
One of the most important factors of any successful business is employing dedicated, motivated employees. Keeping their workforce safe and injury-free is paramount to any organization that wants to thrive. Implementing a comprehensive workplace safety incentive program is one of the best methods to increase employee safety awareness.
A well thought out and administered safety incentive program can be an effective tool in motivating employees and groups to focus on proper safety methods, equipment handling and behaviors on the job. The most successful programs are built around changing behavior, not results. You want to encourage better safety practices and not focus strictly on the results.
A myopic approach, where the success of the program is strictly focused on results can inadvertently encourage workers to not report work-related injury incidents. Any long-lasting, beneficial program must instill an “everybody wins” mentality across the workforce. This approach reinforces teamwork, looking out for one another and observing safe practices on and off the job.
A key component to achieving this level of engagement is the frequency with which rewards are earned and participants recognized. Consistent and positive recognition encourages that “everybody wins” mentality that is crucial to the overall effectiveness of the program. Participating in safety meetings, reporting unsafe conditions and peer recognition for safe behavior are all great examples of behavior worthy of spot rewards and appreciation.
The program launch is critical to the overall reception and buy-in from the employees. Having high level personnel announce the program will increase the significance of the event and build positive buzz. The kickoff period is an ideal opportunity to lay out the expectations of the program and showcase some of the possible rewards available to those who exhibit workplace safety best practices.
As with any incentive program, a strong lineup of merchandise rewards with a high perceived value that will appeal to the workplace demographic will go a long way towards achieving the ultimate goal: raising safety awareness, increasing the bottom line and reducing worker related injuries.