Safety Programs:  To Incent or not to Incent.  That is the question.

Just thinking out loud.

Installment 4

Next issue, managing the program.  The likely incentive program manager candidates include the safety manager and/or HR.  But there are more people involved as well; site managers, supervisors, lead man, etc.  Here is a potential logistical hurdle.  Say one of the criteria for the incentive program is each employee must participate in 85% of all toolbox safety talks each quarter.   Management must: Collect each safety talk signature page and match it to a payroll list.  Assume there are 13 weeks in a quarter and 200 employees.  2,600 signature need be accounted for each quarter. Yikes!  What if someone misses a week due to a doctor’s appointment, (an accepted exemption under the program), someone will need track this down and confirm.  Or what if an employee missed the meeting because he/she was at another meeting?  Again, this need be tracked down for confirmation.  And, management will need to spend time correcting a dozen such issues each month/quarter.  Inadvertently overlooking an employee will give rise to employee resentment and if this occurs frequently, get ready for crews grumbling.

Next issue, length of time of the program.  Any program enforced/enacted by the employer/company must be left in place, unchanged (except for very minor changes) for at least a year at a minimum (my opinion).  The reason, people, in general, have difficulty handling change.   Companies that introduce and then withdraw programs handicamp their credibility with their employees.  Credibility issues can result in poor crew attitude translating into work performance (including safety).  Therefore, management must give considered thought before introducing or ending safety programs.

Conclusion, safety incentive programs must be simple, clear, well presented to crews and justly administered to not only attract and maintain the attention of the crews but also be manageable by the company as well. The opportunity for failure due to the logistical error, in my opinion, is high.  Is the potential downside from mishandling of the program (which appears to be easy to occur) worth the effort?  My humble opinion is, I’m not so sure.  For a contrary point of view see OH&S Occupational Health & Safety magazine, Benita Johnson, Oct. 01, 2016, https://ohsonline.com/Articles/2016/10/01/Safety-Incentive-and-Reward-Programs-Can-Help-Increase-Work-Safety.aspx

Also, a search of the internet will produce a number of companies that can arrange a safety incentive program for your business.

Finally, while not a scientific sampling I am aware of several medium-sized companies (300-400 employees) that use incentive programs and seem satisfied with the success of their program.

Just thinking out loud.

By |2018-07-13T13:34:58+00:00July 13th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments