If you’ve been thinking recently that a large part of your company’s injury prevention program has been turned upside down, you’re not alone.
Once again at the American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) 2011 conference, OSHA administrator David Michaels reiterated his stance that giving employees safety incentives for zero injuries is a bad idea.
So bad, in fact, that Michaels’ statements come with a compliance warning: If OSHA finds an incentive program causes a company to under-report its injuries, the agency will issue fines.
ASSE attendees also heard from Daniel Pink, author of the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Pink’s basic message: To get workplace incentives, employees will eventually cheat.
Pink says motivating employees with external rewards such as money is a mistake. He says the secret to getting good performance from employees is the deep human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better.
After hearing from Pink and Michaels on the first day of the conference, some safety managers were wondering what to do with their safety programs.
In a session on the third day of the conference, one safety manager explained his frustration this way: Employees view their safety bonuses as a benefit. Taking away the safety bonuses for no injuries would be like taking away another benefit like their health care or paid vacation time. He wondered aloud what he should do.
So here’s the question: Are there other ways you can incentivize workers for safety for something other than zero injuries? Does your company have such a plan? You can share your safety incentive solution with others in the Comments Box below.