Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Providing Employees an Incentive for Safety

Do incentives have a place in safety? That question has been debated in our pages and in many other forums for so long that it has become the safety equivalent of a blue state/red state issue. You're either for or against them, and there is little ground for discussion or compromise.

To me, safety incentives are really another tool in the safety holster. They are not intrinsically good or bad. They are, however, easy to implement and, as a result, frequently abused. If a company has a "safety program" that consists solely of rewarding employees with cash or prizes if they go a month without a lost-time injury, then they are misusing this tool as surely as if they were hammering nails with a wrench.

Safety recognition expert Bill Sims Jr. notes in our article, "Seven Suggestions for a Successful Safety Incentives Program," that these programs "complement a well-rounded safety program. If you don't have return-to-work light-duty programs, accident investigations, safety committees, you have no business running a safety recognition program."

At their best, though, safety incentive programs reinforce the importance of safety, reward employees for safe work practices and provide a welcome dose of recognition for employees who too often go unnoticed unless they do something wrong.

Safety Seal - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

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