Incentives: Is Behavior the Key to an Effective Program?

Many employers implement safety incentive programs as they seek to recognize
and reward employees for practicing safe and healthful work practices. While
incentives are popular, they aren't always effective. Simply rewarding
employees to "work safely" or to "not get injured" doesn't address the actual
cause of injuries.

How is an employee supposed to know what, if anything, he needs to change? A
more effective approach may be to provide incentives based on defined
behaviors. Motivating, recognizing and rewarding those behaviors likely will
yield desired safety results.

Most safety incentive programs reward workers for "working safely" over a given
period of time. This commonly is associated with a particular outcome such as
"working a year without getting hurt" or similar goal. Consequently, employees
work toward that result.

If motivated by cash incentives or peer pressure not to "ruin" the company's
safety record, employees may use any strategy to achieve the desired result,
including withholding injury reports. This can lead to more severe injuries in
the future. An employee may choose to ignore a minor injury until it becomes so
severe that he or she has no choice but to report it.

In these instances, the actual number of injuries in the workplace may decline,
but the severity of each reported injury increases, and becomes much more

More info - Source: EHS today