It’s the beginning of the new year and you have been tasked with a simple, straight forward project to be completed: increase workplace safety. You are probably worried about planning and implementing a safety award program that will help the company reach this goal. We have five steps this week to help you set up a safety award program in order to increase safety in the workplace.
1. Set up your safety award program goals
It is very simple to set up a safety award program and have one goal, no recorded OSHA incidents. However, if you are looking to increase your workplace safety, you should reward behaviors that help foster a permanent 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 recorded 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. We've found some websites with helpful safety information below.
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. The employees who receive instant point cards just need to redeem the card code into his or her online account and the points are deposited immediately! Our clients really like carrying these with them as they visit different facilities or departments and handing them out.
3. Develop a safety award 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 award 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 award 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 award program website
Your award program provider will probably assist you with the setup of your safety award 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 award 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 make your organization safer in 2014! 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 in 2014!