11 Safety Incentive Program Examples (With Tips To Implement Them)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 25, 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.

Maintaining a safe workplace is a major concern for both employers and employees. To ensure team members make safety a top priority every day, some companies institute safety incentive programs, rewarding employees for safe actions and periods of incident-free workdays. In this article, we explain safety incentive programs, share examples of safety incentive programs you can implement at your workplace and offer tips to help you initiate an effective safety incentive program.

Related: 10 Workplace Safety Tips To Stay Productive and Protected

What is a safety incentive program?

A safety incentive program is a reward-based initiative used to encourage employees to meet and exceed safety standards in the workplace. Safety incentive programs promote existing safety protocols and highlight effective safety processes performed by employees. These programs reward employees with both tangible and intangible prizes once team members meet specified safety goals.

Safety incentive programs can last for a certain amount of time or work as ongoing motivational tools to promote caution and responsibility on the job. Some industries that may use safety incentive programs include:

  • Manufacturing

  • Warehousing

  • Hazardous material production and disposal

  • Construction

  • Petroleum refining and extraction

  • Industrial services

  • Scientific research and testing

Related: How To Become a Safety Director

What are the benefits of safety incentive programs?

Safety incentive programs can help reduce injuries and accidents in the workplace. By recognizing employees who maintain and exceed company protocols, an incentive program can positively reinforce safety standards and policies.

Instituting a safety incentive program can also keep safety measures relevant. A rewards initiative can help you refocus on important measures that impact employees in their daily tasks. Since employers are required to comply with standards maintained and enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administartion (OSHA), safety incentive programs can be used to highlight certain areas of OSHA regulations to encourage employees to follow these practices. Incentivizing the standards that relate to the equipment and type of work employees perform benefits everyone in the workplace.

Read more: Rewards and Incentives in the Workplace (Advantages and Examples)

Tips for a successful safety incentive program

Here are some ideas to help you initiate a safety incentive program at your workplace:

  • Consider using outside safety consultants. Hiring a consulting firm can help you assess your safety needs and plan for ways to encourage employees to prioritize safety. Firms that specialize in safety consulting may provide the clearest picture of your company culture.

  • Use incentives that aren't monetary-based. Using cash prizes can prove challenging both from budget concerns and employee tax liabilities. Consider using gift cards as an alternative.

  • Offer both rewards and recognition. Employees can benefit from praise and tangible rewards. Consider giving both as part of your program.

  • Create incentives that target your most-needed areas. Analyze your workplace culture and determine what safety measures need the most focus. Look for ways to encourage team members who would benefit the most from improved safety standards.

  • Set high standards for safety incentives. Because safety should already be a part of daily work requirements, an incentive program works most effectively to reward behaviors that exceed expectations. Consider making goals team related so employees work together to surpass safety protocols.

  • Use a safety incentive program to complement, not replace a safety program. Safety incentives should be used in addition to a policy that is already in place for employees. An incentive recognizes the high standards that guide employee safety in the workplace.

  • Make reporting a priority. Even during a safety incentive, make it clear to employees that the top priority is still to identify safety hazards and report any accidents that occur at the workplace. Consider adding leveled rewards based on the lowest number of incidents but still allowing for reporting of any occurrences.

  • Reward employees on a regular and timely basis. When starting a safety incentive initiative, it's important to give rewards regularly over a predetermined period. Breaking measures into monthly or quarterly initiatives can help maintain interest in a safety incentive program.

Related: 53 Interview Questions for Safety Managers (With Example Answers)

11 examples of safety incentive programs

Here are some examples of safety incentives you can implement in the workplace to encourage employees to exceed safety standards:

1. Time off bonuses

One way to encourage safety in the workplace is to offer time off as a prize for extended periods of incident-free workdays. This could be a half-day off bonus, passes to leave work early or bonus vacation days. Decide what works best for your workplace culture and daily workload. Before awarding time off bonuses, consider outlining how you will account for time off, who will process the requests and if there will be a specified period when employees must use their reward.

Read more: 15 Examples of Employee Incentives

2. Gift card prizes

Choosing the right gift card prize can motivate employees in a safety incentive program. Consider giving gift cards to businesses that most employees can use such as restaurants, grocery stores or online retail vendors. You may even choose to scale amounts based on the goals and length of your initiative. You could offer one amount of gift card reward for reaching the first safety milestone and increase the gift card value for reaching the next goal.

3. Extra break time

Another thoughtful reward can be offering employees extra break time for meeting safety initiative goals. Breaks can also act as safety measures to ensure team members are well-rested and focused when they continue their work. You can offer break time as a general reward for the team or as a specific prize for individuals.

4. Pro-safety merchandise

Consider rewarding individual employees with safety-related company merchandise after they meet specific milestones. You could start with a coffee mug with a logo that announces the employee's excellent adherence to safety measures. The next step up could be a t-shirt prize. Choose products that are both useful and appealing to most employees.

5. Raffles

One way to reward team members for safety initiatives is through a raffle system. Every time employees meet a safety goal either individually or as a group, pass out raffle tickets. You can offer raffle chances to reward employees throughout the duration of the incentive program or do a raffle drawing once you've reached the end of the initiative. Include several large items as a motivation to reach safety goals and earn raffle tickets. In this type of program, everyone has a chance to win a big prize.

6. Prize levels for groups and individuals

Leveled prizes create interest in a safety incentive program. If employees are working together as a team to earn rewards, choose rewards that increase in value and appeal the closer they get to a final goal. You can use a similar method for giving out individual rewards.

7. Charity donations

Some companies opt to work for the good of a charity organization in their community or elsewhere. If you choose this method, consider asking for employee input before making the final decision as to where the donation will go. You could also offer choices where employees or teams who meet safety goals can donate awarded funds to a charity of their choice nominated at the start of the initiative.

8. Certificate of recognition

Not all rewards need to be tangible. Reward certificates can be used as resume qualifications to show current and future employers the safety skills employees practice. They also allow teams and individuals to showcase their accomplishments in their workspace. Visiting customers can also view recognition certificates and learn about the safety measures celebrated by the company.

9. Companywide praise

Offering public praise to individuals who exceed safety standards can be a motivating and rewarding tool. Announcing employees who show safety excellence at a company meeting or through a newsletter gives employers a chance to incentivize safety measures to the entire staff in an intangible way. Consider using this type of reward as a complement to other incentive programs or as the first reward in a set of goals.

10. Safety "money"

Another safety incentive program to try is using safety bills as a prize. When employees exhibit model safety protocols, pass out safety bills that can be saved and used to "buy" rewards throughout the length of the program. You can also combine this type of incentive with other programs like allowing employees to use safety money to purchase raffle tickets or gift cards.

11. Safety BINGO

Using a BINGO card can add fun to a safety initiative. Create a 5X5 square filled with safety protocols or goals. Each time the team or individual involved in the incentive completes a task that matches the BINGO space, mark it off. Reward teams and individuals who mark five spaces in a row for their good safety habits.

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