Launching a new and exciting workplace safety program sounds easy, but the overall results may fall short of your objectives without an ongoing safety incentive program.

Reward and recognition for a well-done job fulfill the basic human need for affirmation and acknowledgment. When your personnel receive recognition for their contributions, they will naturally engage at a higher level and contribute more to the company.

To drive positive safety behavior, successful health and safety managers should incorporate the concept of reward and recognition into their safety programs.

“Safety Bucks” Program

“Safety bucks” is one example of an incentive program. It is an earnable, tangible, safe-conduct-reinforcing, and behavior-modifying reward that is given for safe actions in the workplace. Personnel can save them their safety bucks and redeem them for various reward items.

This type of program is a popular approach with employees when it comes to rewarding safety efforts. Supervisors and managers should carry safety bucks and give them to employees who identify a hazard, warn a coworker, make a suggestion that prevents injury, or report an injury or near miss. By rewarding them after the performance, health and safety managers will reinforce the desired behavior, motivating the personnel to become more aware and involved in detecting unsafe work practices and conditions.

Point System

The point system is another often-used safety incentive program. The primary criteria for awarding points in a point-based incentive system are based on proactive safety behavior. For example, an employee might get five points for attending a safety talk or for conducting a safety inspection, three points for making a safety suggestion, one point for being injury-free, etc. Rewarding employees for a wide range of safety activities force you to spread those points around, making sure that as many employees as possible are engaged in the company’s health and safety management program.

Tips for Sustaining a Safety Incentive Program

Keep it simple and clear. Promote the program often and make sure that everybody is engaged in the process. The goals of your incentive program should be clear and measurable. What is the program rewarding? Does it reward outcomes, behaviors, or both?

Give meaningful and genuine rewards. Make sure that employees are not given awards that nobody wants. Connect with professional award distributors to make sure there’s a variety of great awards that are delivered in a timely manner.

Provide verbal and written feedback. Personal engagement with personnel is essential. Also, make sure that all employees get an equal chance at recognition and rewards. Use announcements, weekly meetings, rewards posters, and teasers to make a big deal about the incentive program and get your personnel excited.

A good safety incentive program is just one aspect of your company’s health and safety program—but it’s a vital one.


The primary goal of safety incentive programs is to reduce injuries and accidents and to get the entire company onboard. To ensure the effectiveness of your safety incentives, re-evaluate them frequently. Regardless of your approach, incentives should always motivate proactive safety behavior.

Tags: workplace safety, inspection management, inspection best practices


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