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Workplace Safety Incentives and the Debate Over Getting it Right

Incentives within workplace safety programs have long been central to engaging employees in achieving and promoting an optimally safe work environment. However, learnings over time have led to debate about HOW to incent properly, whether it be with gift cards, merchandise or travel. Promoting not only safe behaviors, but also creating a safe environment to report unsafe behaviors, is critical to the long term success of a safe workplace. Some look to incentive companies like TharpeRobbins to create their workplace safety programs. These companies help define ideal, safe working environments and behaviors and they roll out programs like “Safe Work and Safe Driver Programs”. These programs promote and work towards accident-free workplaces through recognition and rewards via point systems. A recent
Incentive Magazine article, noted that “During the announcement of the new programs, TharpeRobbins put the reality of workplace safety into context with some financial statistics from the National Safety Council 1: *         There are 3.8 million workplace injuries in the US each year *         90,000 of those injuries cause permanent disabilities *         The average cost per injury: $28,000, adding up to $130 billion for the country overall So, there is a lot of cash at risk for companies to get their safety programs “right” and to do it right, it means creating an incentive program for the long term. Organizations like The National Safety Council support the use of incentives to promote a safer workplace, as long as the program goes “beyond the gift cards and improved performance indicators” to ensure that unreported injuries aren’t on the rise. They say, “Incentive programs can enhance established occupational safety programs but should not be considered an easy fix to underlying safety problems”. 2 OSHA also stands strong on the incentive debate, challenging companies to not just institute a safety rewards program, but be sure they aren’t based primarily on injury and illness numbers. Successful programs  weigh heavily on promoting proper reporting of injuries, without the risk of retribution or loss of incentives. Some food for thought for your creating or improving your workplace safety incentive program for 2012. Sources: 1.      
Incentive Magazine: TharpeRobbins Rolls Out Safety Incentive Programs 2.     
National Safety Council: What's your reward? The debate over incentive programs

Topics: Gift Card Trends, General Gift Card, Safety Incentives, Employee Incentives & Rewards

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