Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Wanted: Safe Workers

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Wanted: Safe Workers

Article excerpt

How does your company reward sate behavior?

We've had much success with milestone, annual, quarterly, team and on-the-spot incentives. With milestone incentives, workers get a sweatshirt for 250,000 man-hours without a lost-time accident, a windbreaker for 500,000, a $500 savings bond and a quartz clock for 750,000 and a commemorative silver coin and a safety jacket for 1 million man-hours. On-the-spot incentives, which are given when a worker goes beyond minimum safety requirements, have a cap or a T-shirt as a reward. We have the Safety Suggestion of the Month, which comes with a $50 to a $100 reward, and a Safe Guard of the Month, who gets a parking space, money and a safety sign with his or her name on it. This person is chosen by co-workers for showing outstanding effort in achieving a safe workplace.

"We recognize people at monthly safety meetings. We use the awards to celebrate together. It's a team concept, and it provides a lot of recognition for the workers and their families. It has achieved its goal by making employees feel comfortable and enjoy their work, and has reduced injuries. We haven't had a lost workday since 1997.

"With all of these incentives, our goals and objectives are clearly established. By using them correctly, employees can achieve the maximum result, which is to not get hurt. These incentives help them think about the desired achievements we want to make." -- Tim Sanford, safety and training specialist, Texas Municipal Power Agency, Bryan, Texas

"We use a number of tools to reward safe behavior. Some examples are our Passport to Excellence, whereby workers get a prize, such as a jacket, when they complete a list of activities that impact safety and health; our annual Safety Bowl, where the winning team gets to go to the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association national conference; and the Lockheed Excellence Award Program, which monetarily honors a worker for doing something exceptional to contribute to safety and health.

"Our incentives are more activity-based. We try to steer away from so much emphasis on injury and illness rates. It helps make safety not just a compliance issue, but fun and meaningful to the employee. With our approach, workers see that they can make a difference. It helps people who otherwise may believe they have not contributed to a safety and health program. …

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