Safety Incentives

Companies with a successful safety culture share several characteristics. First, they try to hire "safe" people. Their human resources professionals take background checks and drug screening seriously. Once an individual is hired, these companies actively promote safety throughout the training process and provide the proper equipment and ongoing communications. These are the baseline practices that lead to a workforce environment that is likely to take safety seriously. With these foundational elements already in place, companies can move from a good to a great safety culture through the introduction of a high-impact safety incentive program.

The recognition portion of incentive programs offers the unique ability to reward for leading indicators, an enormously important method of generating change. Jennifer Juergens, in her article titled "Safety First" which appeared in Occupational Heath and Safety, reinforces this fact; "Given that as many as 86% of all workplace accidents are triggered by unsafe behavior, it is no wonder the focus often has been on reducing the number of accidents by eliminating unsafe behaviors instead of on preventing accidents by rewarding instances of safe behavior."

The single most effective tool to generate synergistic improvement in safety performance is the use of an employee incentive and recognition program. According to a recent study conducted by Occupational Hazards targeting health and loss prevention professionals, 84.7% of the respondents said their company's safety consciousness increased as a result of their safety incentive program.

Companies with an average or good safety culture that use safety incentive programs to recognize and reward employees will find success, as it is human nature to desire praise and appreciation. The incentive program is the "glue" that can bind together a wide range of safety initiatives to ensure that they receive optimal attention.
One key element necessary to ensure measurable success is to brand the incentive program and promote it as if it were an exciting new consumer product. Employees will respond most positively to the safety program when it has been given its own identity. Branding the solution and making it pervasive will ascribe a value to the program and cause employees to take notice and internalize the goals at a far greater level.

Branding works because we as people respond to symbols of success and accomplishment. Treating your safety program as a brand and promoting it as a symbol of excellence will add motivational power and boost top-of-mind awareness with employees. A strong safety brand is one with a distinctive name and slogan that is actively promoted in all employee communication including posters, catalogs, videos, websites,

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