Promoting off-the-job safety through incentives

How can an on-the-job employee safety awareness incentive program help promote off-the-job employee safety awareness?

Answered by Richard Flynn, marketing and sales, C.A. Short Co., Charlotte, NC.

Each employee on your payroll can bring three to four individuals, family members or friends into your safety program at some level through a properly structured safety awareness incentive program. Family involvement is one element of an effective safety awareness program, as are positive reinforcement and continuous communication.

Safety awareness programs that effectively change behavior are based on an accrual process. Participating employees earn recognition and rewards – at a minimum, month to month – with a spot bonus here and there to keep things interesting and keep employees (and, by extension, their friends and family) engaged.

Safety awareness programs can be designed primarily to encourage the accumulation of safety reward points or safety reward stamps. Employees earn points or stamps for achieving goals and objectives targeted at leading or lagging indicators.

Safety can be expanded off the job by showing employees how they can use their points to influence the behavior of family members. Employees can share their points or stamps as rewards for safe behavior they would like to see at home.

For instance, housekeeping points earned on the job can be redistributed to children who clean their rooms or keep their bikes off the driveway; ladder safety points translate to using the step stool in the kitchen; perfect attendance points at work become perfect attendance at school rewards at home.

Another idea is to start a monthlong discussion of safety at home during National Safety Month in June. Double points could be earned that month if employees bring in safety posters, safety slogans or safety ideas developed at home.

My favorite idea from a client was a take-off on the bumper stickers seen over the last several years – the ones that say, "My child is an honor student at XYZ school." This client took that concept and gave each employee who qualified a bumper sticker that said, "My mom [or dad, or friend, or neighbor] works safe at XYZ Company."

The stickers began appearing on bumpers all over the county in which the business resided. It was fun for the family, showed family pride in safe behavior and raised awareness of off-the-job safety across the local community.

Ultimately, by encouraging family involvement and off-the-job communication as part of a safety awareness program, you can expect to be rewarded with lower disability costs, more satisfied workers and, ultimately, higher productivity – all without encouraging non-reporting of accidents.

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