I recently was a motivational speaker for a corporate safety conference. The event featured a ceremony where the CEO proudly handed out Rewards for Safety on the job. If employees maintained a certain safety record, they were given monetary rewards.
I am very weary of this. When we start rewarding people or teams for having no safety infractions we are rewarding them for working in the only way possible. It is a given, we don't require a pat on the back for it. Safety consciousness is a part of the job.
It's like saying we are going to aim have only two safety violations this year. Why would you have that as a goal? What if one of those safety infractions results in disability or death? The price is too high.
It reminds me that there is no greater motivator in life then the fear of loss. A better motivator would be to Remind people of the consequences of unsafe actions (and let their fear of loss motivate them). Losing your freedom or personal mobility is a powerful reminder to be safe.
Other Atttitudes that Can Lead to Safety Infractions:
- Role Overload will cause accidents. If your manager asks you to hurry up because or excess workload, this does not translate into taking a short cut or doing anything unsafe.
- The newer employees are more likely to have a safety infraction. Actually veterans who have been on the job longer may be more comfortable with routine and more likely to cut corners or try to do things faster.
- Only the safety committee is interested in safety. Safety has to be a culture and everyone has to buy in. It's not just an annoying reminder but a way of working. An attitude that permeates everything you do.
- Removing safely distractions is all you need to do to be safe.
Occational Safety Reminders are NOT good enough. People are reminded all the time not to drink and drive and yet they do it anyways. Repeated reminders often just get ignored as people think, I know that already. However, we still don't change.Read: How to Give a Motivational Safety Talk