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Safety Programs and Incentives

Although safety programs are effective for cutting workplace injuries in all workplace environments; manufacturing is an optimal industry segment to promote workplace safety incentives. Workplace environments can be harsh and employee safety is a number one concern and constant initiative. Formal safety reward programs provide an important function to motivate employees to take proper safety precautions and adapt to the safer behaviors that your environment demands. If employees are motivated to take safety awareness seriously enough to reduce the likelihood of accidents, and the program is properly structured with measurement methods in place; the company will realize ROI in increased performance, and reduced healthcare insurance premiums. Following are a few examples of typical safety and workplace incentive programs that manufacturers employ:

  • Measured accident reduction
  • Safety awareness contributions
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) programs
  • Increased productivity rewards
  • Health and wellness programs, tailored to specific job functions

Learnings over time have led to a debate about HOW to incent properly, whether it is with gift cards, merchandise or travel. Promoting not only safe behaviors, but also creating an encouraging environment to report unsafe behaviors, is critical to the long term success of a safe workplace. Some companies look to incentive companies like TharpeRobbins to create their workplace safety programs. These companies help define ideal, safe working environments and behaviorsand they roll out programs like their “Safe Work and Safe Driver Programs”.  The idea here is topromote and work towards accident-free workplaces through recognition and rewards via a points system. A recent Incentive Magazine article noted how 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 U.S. 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

There is a lot of cash at risk for companies to get their safety programs “right”, and to do it right 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. The National Safety Council explains that, “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 only institute a safety rewards program, but to ensure programs 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. Here is an example of how one manufacturer puts gift cards to work as incentives within their safety program: An electronics and process controls company plays “Safety Bingo” every month and they have been accident free for 15 years. “I use them as prizes, sometimes we will have 2 games going at one time like 4 corners and a regular Bingo, so I will give a $50 gift card for the 4 corners. Or I will surprise an employee who I catch using all their PPE (personal protective equipment) correctly.” For more of the GiftCard Partners’ Incentives in the Workplace eBook,
download the full version here.
[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, Health & Wellness, workplace incentives, PPT programs, General, Employee Incentives & Engagement, Safety Incentives, avoiding workplace injuries, increased productivity

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