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February Safety Tip

Safety Incentives and OSHA

Safety Incentives have been a hot topic the past few years with respect to OSHA.  With the 2015 revision to the OSHA Recordkeeping rule, certain safety incentive program elements were prohibited.  However, OSHA recently modified this policy to allow reporting-based incentive programs again.  This means that employers can again offer a prize or bonus at the end of an injury-free month, and managers can be evaluated based on their work unit’s lack of injuries.

OSHA recently published a letter of interpretation that states that in order to implement safety incentive programs of these types, the employer must ensure that employees are not discouraged from reporting injuries because a prize or other benefit may be forfeited.

This can be done by including additional incentive program elements such as

  • awarding employees for identifying unsafe conditions in the workplace,
  • conducting training on reporting injuries or illnesses, and
  • awarding employees for participating in a safety audit or a root cause investigation.

If employers adopt additional precautionary measures such as the examples above, then they are free to reinstate their safety incentive programs.

The  Ultimate  Incentive

“The ultimate safety incentive is a larger understanding of why employees should want to be safe.  At the end of the day, it is not so the company will stay under OSHA’s radar. And it certainly is not so that everyone can earn a T-shirt.   It’s so the employee is able to go home to his or her loved ones – who are the reasons he or she comes to work in the first place.”  Jim Stanley, ehstoday.com  

February 2019 Safety Tip: Safety Incentives and OSHA