Safety Incentives: The Gas That Powers A Company’s Safety Program

On Monday, October 29th, 2018

After OSHA issued new regulatory compliance standards in late 2016, many companies chose to stop using safety incentives altogether.    Uncertainty breeds fear and no one wants to invite unnecessary problems when it comes to ensuring all federal safety standards are met.

However, OSHA has been quite clear that safety incentive programs remain not only permissible, but properly utilized, are an appropriate tool to increase safety awareness in the workplace.

OSHA’s new injury reporting requirements underscore the requirement that safety incentives may not be injury based.   OSHA was further concerned about employee perceptions of retaliation whenever reporting an injury.   Therefore, OSHA insists that any safety incentive program be designed in such a way to ensure proper employee reporting of all injuries.

We agree.   A poorly designed set of safety incentives can and will lead to non-reporting of employee injuries.   However, without an accompanying safety incentive-driven strategy built-in to a company’s safety program, it’s unlikely to achieve full power that employee motivation provides.

Think about it this way:   Can you imagine living without the utilization of gasoline?

It’s inherently dangerous, yet most of us think nothing of sitting on top of an explosive bomb every day as we move about.   The reason gasoline use is a such non-issue is entirely due to the inherent safeguards with which gas is both delivered to the consumer and thereafter utilized.

OSHA has provided new and improved safeguards for the utilization of employee safety incentive programs.   However, it’s not because they think safety incentives are inherently dangerous.   The concern is due strictly to how safety incentives are applied; and rightly so.

OSHA knows that once an effectively designed safety incentive program with appropriate compliance safeguards is in place, a company can thereafter be assured of having the needed fuel to drive its safety program to ever greater loss control results.