It’s almost the end of the year and you have been tasked with a simple, straight forward project to be completed before January first: increase workplace safety. With only three weeks to go, you are probably worried about planning and implementing a safety incentive program that will help the company reach this goal. I have five steps this week to help you set up a safety program in order to increase safety in the workplace.
1. Set up your safety program goals.
It is very simple to set up a safety program and have one goal, no OSHA recordable incidents. However, if you are looking to increase your workplace safety, you are going to have to reward behaviors that help foster a safety culture. If you set up your goals to include reporting a near miss, recommending preventative measures and corrective actions, completing training, attending safety meetings and similar activities, then you are more likely to increase safe behavior and thus have a reduced number of recordable incidents.
If you want to include goals for attending safety meetings and distributing safety information, you can find many free or low cost resources online. I included some of the websites I have utilized for safety information below.
Integrity Safety Discussions
2. Plan for spontaneous safety recognition.
Although you may have various ways for people to participate and earn points in a safety incentive program, giving people recognition on the spot is a great way to reward workers for a wide variety of reasons. Recognizing and rewarding workers who demonstrate safe behavior or go above and beyond the job description can be given instant point cards by managers. The points can be banked or spent just like any other points received in the safety incentive program, however the employee actually enters in the code on card to add the points earned into his or her account. My clients really like carrying these with them as they visit different facilities or departments and handing them out.
3. Develop a safety incentive program budget.
Depending on the number of goals and participants in your program, you will have to decide how many dollars to assign to each goal. Clients of mine tend to award between five and twenty five dollars per goal met. The instant point cards tend to be between one and ten dollars each. For most safety incentive programs, all of your budget will be going towards the points that people use to purchase safety awards. If you are just starting a safety incentive program, be aware of any set up or ongoing administrative fees that your award program provider may charge and be sure to include this in your budget projection.
4. Design the safety incentive program website.
Your award program provider will probably assist you with the setup of your safety incentive program website. I have found that for most safety programs, it only takes a few days to set everything up. Websites can include additional safety resources too such as safety newsletters, discussions notes and hand-outs, safety quizzes and safety feedback forms. If you only have a short while to set up the program, don’t worry about adding all of these pages at first. You can always add new safety program resources online and invite employees to check out the website later on.
5. Come up with ways to communicate the program.
Knowing your audience is vital when setting up your safety incentive program communications. If your employees have regular access to the internet and work or home email, then I would start with setting up electronic communications such as statements and emails. If you employees are not able to access internet easily or do not have work email addresses, then I would suggest setting up posters, flyers, printed statements and safety account cards to get started.
It is not too late to set up a safety incentive program and kick it off at the beginning of the year! If you follow these five steps and partner with an experienced safety program provider, you will be able to effectively encourage safe behavior and help create a safer workplace!