Congratulations! You have well-established safety incentive program, one with well-defined goals that recognizes workers’ participation and efforts to improve safety in the workplace! It promotes positive communication between management and workers, and it doesn’t fall foul of current Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforcement guidance. It’s a well-oiled machine that has been in place for years!
Unfortunately, that could mean it’s also getting a little stale. The things that worked when the program began may lose their effectiveness over time, even if they were chosen by the workers themselves. After all, workers can only use so many logo hats and messenger bags, and even pizza parties can get old. Maybe even the stack of incentive catalogs that has become its own safety hazard on the corner of your desk isn’t offering any new and interesting directions.
So, where can you find ideas that go beyond changing out the specific goals you’d like workers to achieve, or the types of incentives you offer? When it’s time to look for new ideas for your safety program, you may want to shake a tree you haven’t looked at before. Here are some sources to check for fresh safety incentive program ideas.
Workers’ Compensation Insurers
Your workers’ compensation insurer or broker may be able to provide you with information about starting or fine-tuning a safety incentive program. Insurers may have existing programs or may be able to refer you to vendors or consultants who can help you set one up.
But don’t limit yourself to your own insurer or broker. Many insurers have incentive program ideas posted on their websites; you can collect ideas all over the Internet that might freshen up your program.
Some trade associations offer safety incentive programs for group members. One advantage of a group program is that it can free you from the administrative burden and allow you to offer better rewards than you could on your own. Another is that a trade association may provide ideas that work well in your specific industry or that set goals in problem areas common to the work your employees do.
Incentive Program Vendors
There are a number of vendors who offer “turnkey” safety incentive programs. If you’ve been using one of them for a while, maybe it’s time to poll their competitors and find out who’s got something new.
Before you select a new incentive program vendor, do your homework. Start by checking references: Get the names and telephone numbers of other clients (especially in your industry) that the vendor has worked with. Ask the references if the program really works, how much time and money are required to administer it, what savings have resulted, how well employees have accepted it, and if it has any downsides.