How To Create a Safety Incentive Program

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 11, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Safety for team members and visitors such as customers and clients is one of the most important considerations in any workplace. For this reason, many companies leverage special programming to enhance safety in their organization. If you want to increase safety outcomes in your own organization, you might consider implementing a safety incentive program or improving an existing one. In this article, we discuss safety incentive programs, their importance and how to create a safety incentive program, with tips to help you develop your own.

Related: 10 Workplace Safety Tips To Stay Productive and Protected

What is a safety incentive program?

A safety incentive program is a system that rewards team members for performing their jobs safely. They might involve rewards on an individual basis or for an entire team, such as bonuses paid out after a crew achieves a certain safety metric. The most effective safety incentive programs reward employees for engaging in certain safe behaviors in the workplace.

Group rewards are becoming less common because they might encourage employees to avoid reporting work-related accidents or injuries. Accurate reporting is an important part of keeping teams safe because it allows the organization to track when and how accidents are actually occurring and take measures to prevent them.

Related: The Hierarchy of Controls and the 5 Stages of Safety Controls

Why is a safety incentive program important?

Safety incentive programs are important because they can help motivate teams to behave safely at work. Workplace safety can, most importantly, keep individuals accident- and injury-free when they are performing their duties. Increased safety outcomes can also help organizations reach their goals more effectively, which might help increase revenues and profits. Safety incentive programs can also be a valuable part of enforcing external safety policies and regulations such as those mandated by law or other external organizations.

Related: 12 Workplace Safety Meeting Topics To Consider

How to create a safety incentive program

If you want to create a safety incentive program in your own organization, here are some steps you can use:

1. Identify your goals

Establishing goals before beginning your safety training program development process can help you tailor the details to your organization's needs. Consider any internal objectives and metrics such as key performance indicators (KPIs) related to safety outcomes. Be sure to integrate any external safety requirements as well, such as third-party regulations and policies. Try using the SMART goal framework, in which you establish goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. You might work through parts of this process independently and work together with colleagues to identify the most important safety outcomes.

Related: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples

2. Form or use a safety committee

If your organization could benefit from a safety committee, consider forming one at this time. A collaborative group of representatives from different departments and levels of your organization may be a valuable part of starting your safety incentive program. If you have a safety committee in place, try to leverage this group to your advantage by holding meetings for brainstorming and program development. Be sure to follow any committee procedures you have in place for an existing work group.

3. Develop a program structure

Next, decide on a structure for your safety incentive program. Some organizations, for example, reward safe behavior with items or points that employees can exchange for rewards. You might also consider the timing for delivering your incentives. For example, you might choose to reward your teams after a series of safe days, weeks or months. Many successful safety incentive programs reward whole teams, in contrast to those that reward specific individuals for safe behavior.

4. Initiate your incentive program

When you've developed a plan and structure for your safety incentive program, you can begin using it in your organization. Consider implementing your plan strategically. For example, you might run a pilot program with a particular business unit before integrating the rest of the company to help identify and address challenges at a smaller scale.

5. Assess and reflect

Periodically measure your safety outcomes as a result of your safety incentive program. Try to use your original goals as a baseline for the metrics you gather through your program and make changes as necessary. Consider using measurable data as well as employee feedback to gain the best perspective on your program's success.

Tips for creating an effective safety incentive program

Here are some tips to help you create an effective safety incentive program:

  • Emphasize the importance of incident reporting. Encouraging employees to report accidents, injuries and other incidents is an important part of any safety program. Accurate reporting can help you address areas of safety challenges and comply with certain policies and regulations.

  • Eliminate participation barriers. Be sure every member of your organization is comfortable participating in and contributing to your safety program. Consider important factors such as language, education and skill when creating a safety incentive program that is welcoming to all.

  • Garner support at all levels of the organization. The most successful safety incentive programs leverage the support of company leaders. Be sure to communicate your program's value to managers and supervisors and access any resources available that might help your safety incentive program succeed.

  • Reward initiative. It is important for employees to comply with safety regulations and best practices, and it can also be valuable when those employees devise solutions for safety problems they encounter. Encourage team members to take the initiative to address safety concerns.

  • Leverage digital tools. Try using electronic solutions for record-keeping in your safety incentive program. You might also use digital tools for implementation, such as an employee safety dashboard that all team members can access.

  • Keep your messaging clear. Clear and concise messaging is a key component of a successful safety incentive program. When team members know what is expected of them and what they can expect to receive, they may be more likely to engage in desired behaviors.

  • Provide prompt feedback. Be sure to promptly provide the rewards associated with your safety incentive program to reinforce your team members' safe practices. If your safety incentive program helps identify areas for improvement, be sure to address those areas promptly.

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