Safety Scratch Offs

starperk safety scratchoff

Easy-to-implement program where you distribute scratch off cards worth points toward trips and prizes. Learn More


Online Points Program


Customize your own points program and give employees the ability to redeem points online. Add it as an overlay to any BBS or safety program.

Re-Engineering Your Service Award Program

If your company already has a SERVICE AWARD Program, learn how to BREATHE new LIFE into it and use it to CUT TURNOVER, ABSENTEEISM and IMPROVE Safety!

Notice the article by Bob Nelson, author of the Best Seller 1001 Ways to Reward Employees--it points out the FLAWS in today's most popular OLD SCHOOL Service Recognition Programs.

If your company DOESN'T HAVE a program, learn why you should!

Why Should Your Company Have a Service Award Program?

500 of the Fortune 500 companies all have formal Service Recognition Programs. They know that these programs quickly pay for themselves by yielding....

  • reduced turnover
  • improved safety performance
  • lower unscheduled absenteeism costs

What sets our Service Award Program apart from the rest?

  1. Flexibility.
    Most companies make you pick from the items in THEIR catalog. We do it the other way---finding what appeals to your employees and then building a video catalog from this.


  2. Better Value.
    Our approach assures you of good value and great service on the gifts you offer.


  3. Better Selection.
    Have as few, or as many gift choices as you want!


  4. More Pizazz!
    We're in the video age, and unfortunately, most service award vendors haven't realized it. We're happy to provide you with traditional, expensive, boring paper catalogs, but our ELECTRONIC, PC CATALOGS really get people interested! Imagine showing these in the company lunchroom and to your NEW EMPLOYEES!


Consultant Dispels Myths
About Award Programs

By Bob Nelson
Author of 1001 Ways to Reward Your Employees

The vast majority of recognition programs are obsolete, according to a 10-year national study, the Independent National Study of Recognition Policies and Practices, by Perspectives Resources, Inc. In fact, many of them demotivate rather than motivate employees, because they are based on concepts designed in the '60s and '70s and no longer meet either corporate objectives or employee needs.

"Companies are spending more than $500 million annually on service award programs that don't work," says Edward L. Ford, recognition consultant, "and minor changes will not address the problems. At the same time, with all the downsizing and change taking place in business today, recognition is more important to the morale of employees than ever. It is imperative that companies take a fresh look at what constitutes effective recognition -- including what the needs of the award recipient are."

Here, we dispel some common myths about award programs....

  • Myth one: Logo emblems of gold and diamonds make the best award.
  • Fact: Corporate emblems are outdated, and 95.8 percent of employees would rather have practical merchandise items as awards.

Since many employees eventually receive logo awards, such as "years of service" awards, they stop carrying recognition impact. Moreover, since employees no longer feel the same job security as in the past, they no longer have the same corporate identity. As a result, the company logo is less important to them.

In addition a two-year study, which covered 1,500 employees and 200 companies, representing a total of 12.4 million individuals compiled the Employee Needs and Wants Recognition Index (ENRI) which measures the effectiveness of recognition award programs. Results showed that only 4.2 percent of employees would choose logo jewelry over merchandise for awards.

  • Myth two: Recognition programs incorporate award choices that employees really want.
  • Fact: According to the ENRI, 70 percent of employees would choose something other than what they are offered.

"A human resource executive from one of the nation's largest banks helped put award choices in perspective by asking, 'How many many pen and pencil sets... can you use?' " says Ford.

The ENRI study identified the 200 most popular service award selections.

The top five include:

  1. electronics and entertainment
  2. cameras, optics and camcorders
  3. watches, clocks and weather instruments
  4. crystal, china, silver, and kitchen accessories
  5. sports and outdoor equipment

"Consider how many of these items and categories are included in your own program," says Ford. "An effective program needs selections that incorporate several of these categories."

  • Myth three: A simple change in selection or awards will substantially improve your recognition program.
  • Fact: To address employees' changing attitudes, more and more companies are reengineering their recognition policies.

Here are some key factors in restructuring award programs:

  • Establish the goals and objectives of employee recognition and obtain management support.
  • Survey a representative sampling of employees as to what they want and need in a recognition program. Make sure every region and its differences are represented.
  • Create a program based on employee feedback and input from program administrators. To help empower employees, make it an employee-defined, not a corporate-defined program.
  • As often as possible, make recognition timely, preferably as close as possible to the reason for which you are recognizing an employee, rather than monthly, quarterly or annually.

Reengineering can actually help companies save money rather than spend more on recognition, while allowing them to provide awards that employees really want. For example, 117 companies that re-engineered their programs during 1994 and 1995 saved an average of 42.9 percent on their programs, and their average award cost per employee per year dropped from $17.66 before reengineering to $9.21 afterwards.

  • Myth four: Companies should reduce or eliminate years of service awards.
  • Fact: Companies should not cut programs at random. Instead, they need to make all recognition programs more effective by aligning them with shifting employee attitudes and updating them annually.

Identify which types of awards are most appropriate in your present corporate culture. Employees may like the types or recognition your program offers. Their dissatisfaction may lie in the awards they are offered.

We Look Forward to Working with You on Re- Engineering Your Service Award Program!

For a FREE VIDEO on how to design the best Service Award Program for your company, please CLICK HERE...Takes you to the Order form...

For more information on why Service Awards make good sense for your company, read on........


Rewarding Employees Smarter

New Employee Recognition Ideas From Bill Sims!
Reprinted with Permission from Bob Nelson, author of the Best Selling Book "1001 Ways to Reward Employees".


There's a new program concept sweeping the incentive industry regarding service awards. The concept is simple yet revolutionary in how employees are recognized for years of service-- one of the most frequently used formal recognition programs in the U.S. Already in use by Nynex, NBC, CPC, and other companies, this concept is bound to become an industry standard as it shifts service programs from focusing on the award to focusing on the achievement.

Most employee service programs today involve giving an employee logo jewelry with a "jeweling sequence" for their significant years of service in the organization. That is, with each successive anniversary, employees typical receive 10K & 14K logo jewelry of greater worth- and in many companies the cost of such jewelry items is significant--especially when precious gems are used to depict years of service. In some programs, for example, recipients receive a pin at five years, a diamond added at 10 years, a second diamond at 20 years, etc.. Typically, this is some for employees on five- or ten-year anniversaries, ideally with some form of presentation by one's manager.

Although the cost of such programs can fun in the millions of dollars, unfortunately, there are some fatal flaws regarding their effectiveness. For example, more times than not an employee's anniversary date goes unnoticed on the day of the event, even though in the employee's mind the specific anniversary date is significant. Perhaps in a subsequent staff meeting mention is made of the date by one's manager or--more likely--a notice and momento of the anniversary appears after the fact via the company mail or the annual awards banquet as much as 12 months after the anniversary date.

A second flaw is the nature of the awards that are used. Traditional logo jewrely items or knives, pen and pencil sets and jewrely accessories have lost popularity with employees who would be just as happy--or even happier-- with a lifestyle gift of their choosing. Items such as electronics, cameras, clothing, luggage or even barbecue equipment that will have a practical value are more popular today with employees.

A third flaw is that studies show that the perceived worth of logo jewelry used in most service award programs typically is far less that the actual cost of the merchandise to the company.

These shortcomings can be fixed in a way that both increases the program's effectiveness while reducing costs and administration. The idea is to standardize the activity of recognizing each employee's anniversary, while at the same time allowing greater flexibility of choice on the part of the employee of items of similar value. For example, each year every employee would receive a letter (the same letter to each employee) from the company's president thanking that person for his or her contribution to the organization. The letter could be sent to the employee's manager for an individualized presentation two or three days prior to the employee's anniversary date. On significant anniversary dates (5, 10, 15, and 20 years) the employees would select a gift from 25 lifestyle items of equal worth.

Each year a new selection of gifts would be made available so that with each significant anniversary, employees have a fresh selection of gifts to choose from. A a result, the focus of the program is on the employee's anniversary, not the increased value of a gift he receives. The gift becomes more of a momento of the occasion.

Companies who have tried this approach lave found marked improvement in their service program in terms of effectiveness, reported satisfaction and reduced costs. It is not uncommon for employers to reduce the number of people needed to administer such a streamlined program. In one major corporation, for example, this change enabled the organization to reduce the number of people needed to administer the program from seven employees to one half-time person. All employees celebrating 5- to 20-year anniversaries received a gift of the same value as did employees celebrating 25- 45-year anniversaries. This trend toward recognizing but not rewarding years of service thus places a greater emphasis on the years of service.

When was the last time you evaluated the effectiveness of your service program? Chances are you can make some changes to both improve its effectiveness while you reduce the time, energy and expense required to run it.

Copyright by Bob Nelson, vice president of Blanchard Training and Development, Inc., San Diego, CA and author of 1001 Ways to Reward Employees (Workman), now in its 13th printing. For more information on revitalizing your service program, contact Bill Sims, Jr., president of The Bill Sims Company Inc. at (800)690-1860.

Why Should Your Company Have a Service Award Program?

500 of the Fortune 500 companies all have formal Service Recognition Programs. They know that these programs quickly pay for themselves by yielding....

  • reduced turnover
  • improved safety performance
  • lower unscheduled absenteeism costs

Here's why...

The Problem:
Employee turnover is one of your business's greatest hidden costs. On average, you must hire 3 employees to retain 1 for one year. So, if your average training period for NEWLY HIRED EMPLOYEES is 8 hours, your cost is at least $60 to train a new employee, and that doesn't include the MISTAKES they make that cost you money from POOR QUALITY.

That means that your REAL training cost is $180 to get ONE employee to stay with your company for one year!

Further, after 1 year, you will continue to lose MORE and MORE employees, so that very few make it to 5 years. In fact, if you're like many companies, you have to hire as many as 20 employees just to keep ONE for FIVE YEARS!

So your actual training cost to get an employee & keep them for 5 years may easily approach $1000 or more! That's why smart companies like IBM, Milliken, and others have known for years that a meaningful recognition program enhances your companies' image and PAYS FOR ITSELF MANY TIMES OVER.

The Solution!
Let us create a Corporate Commemorative Gift program that your employees will love! And WE RUN IT FOR YOU! We'll monitor all your employees & tell you who's ready for recognition and when! We can even mail it to the home so you don't have to lift a finger (that's our little secret, though).

If you CURRENTLY HAVE no program, let us build one for you--it's easy, and cost effective.

If you ALREADY HAVE a program, let us RE- VITALIZE it with a new approach your people will LOVE!

Since we know the INS and OUTS of making your program IRS Tax Free, you can be SURE that you'll be in full compliance with tax guidelines.


1. Completely Tax Free!
Under a little known change in the Tax Law, Congress allows you to award TAX FREE a "tangible gift" for $400 every 5 years your employees work with you!

CASH & SAVINGS BONDS ARE TAXABLE! So you lose about 40% of your budget to Uncle Sam! And many employees wind up cashing in their bonds immediately, so they can use the money to pay the light bill.

2. Cash Causes Guilt Feelings.
When an employee gets cash, he/she cannot spend it on himself. Usually there's an argument in the family over how to spend the money--either to pay off the credit card or the light bill.

With a gift, there is no argument, and the employee receives a gift they will cherish for many years, THAT THEY WOULD NOT BUY FOR THEMSELVES!

3. No "Trophy Value".
An employee can point with pride to their relatives & friends that "This is the TV my company gave me!" THAT IS SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE.

But an employee who gets cash is BRAGGING if they comment on how much money they make working for your company. THAT IS SOCIALLY UNACCEPTABLE.

4. Becomes Part of Compensation.
Cash quickly becomes part of the compensation package and employees assume they will always get it. You cannot take it away or change it without severe difficulty.

Overworked employees are fed up: a survey finds 8 out of 10 Americans want a new job.

Overworked employees are fed up: a survey finds 8 out of 10 Americans want a new job.

November 11, 2003: 4:12 PM EST
By Leslie Haggin Geary, CNN/Money Staff Writer

New York (CNN/Money)

Ready to quit? You have plenty of company.

Many employees are overworked, stressed out, fed up -- and eager to quit their jobs once the economy picks up. In fact, worker angst is so pronounced it has surprised even the most tuned-in human resource professionals. They say employee anger is now almost palpable.

More than eight in 10 workers plan to look for a new job when the economy heats up, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Professionals. While there's a difference between looking for a new gig and actually jumping ship, that kind of number is "very, very high," says SHRP spokesman Frank Scanlon.

How did things get so bad?

To be sure, the economy hasn't helped. Cash-strapped employers have been cutting back on benefits like health care, paid vacations and retirement benefits.

Belt tightening is one thing; greed is another. In an era of Enron, mutual fund scandals and ludicrous CEO pay packages, employees know the difference, says Jeff Taylor, founder and CEO of

"Companies behaving badly" have been all too common during the downturn, according to Taylor.

Job Stress:
By the Numbers
83% of workers plan to look for a new gig when the economy heats up.
35% of "top performing" corporate employees are at "high risk" of leaving their jobs.
60% of workers feel pressure to work too much
83% of employees want more time with their families.
56% of workers are either somewhat or completely disatisfied with their jobs.
Sources: Society for Human Resource Professionals, Sibson Consulting, Gallup Poll,

"You have the greed of executive management and great inequities from your lowest-paid worker to your highest-paid worker," he says. "Companies are not giving out raises. Benefits have been cut. That's an environment where the employers calls the shots."

The threat of pink slips has prompted plenty of people to work scared and give everything to their jobs. So-called overtime isn't that uncommon anymore. Nearly 40 percent of workers spend at least 50 hours on the job per week.

"Employees have hunkered down through the downturn," said the SHRP's Scanlon. Now that things may be looking up, "they're going to start looking aggressively."

How bad it has gotten...

  • 83% of all employees plan to head for a new job when the economy improves...

  • 35% of 'top performing' employees say they will leave when they can.

  • 60% of employees feel too much pressure to work

  • 83% want more time with families

  • 56% are dissatisfied with their jobs

Heading for the door

Take the case of David Garrison, 40, a facilities manager who worked for an oil company for 20 years before quitting to work at a local credit union.

Pulling 60-hour weeks was normal for the Los Angeles father of two. That's because he was expected to do much of the work of five other peers who had been fired. The message: Don't complain or you'll lose your job, too. So Garrison kept his mouth shut.

By the time he did quit a little over a year ago, Garrison had to swallow anti-anxiety prescriptions to get through the day. When he did care for himself -- and took a second sick day within a sixth-month period -- he was called in for a "counseling" session by his employer, who warned him not to take too much time away.

"It was infuriating," he recalls.

Infuriating but not uncommon, judging by the e-mail postings on Web sites - such as -- that have flourished in recent years as a way for workers to vent.

Other movements - such as the Center for a New American Dream's effort to simplify lives and the Work To Live Web site, which exhorts workers to lobby lawmakers for change – are gaining momentum.

"I get flooded with e-mails from people, and you get a sense of the desperation," says Work to Live's Joe Robinson. "People have been traumatized by the last 15 years of downsizing and the last few years of recession. Everyone's afraid they'll be next."

The high cost of desperation

"In the last 15 years I've had a total of four weeks of vacation," writes one woman on the Work to Live site. "We receive no paid vacation, no paid holidays and no paid sick leave. . . .I used to have three people in my office doing what I do. Now there is just me. . . . I can't keep going like this."

There may be a glimmer of hope, for some. The most recent job report from the Labor Department shows that employers are finally adding to their payrolls. Human resource managers are bracing for a stampede.

Gerald Ledford, senior vice president at Sibson Consulting, notes that if 16 percent of workers do leave their jobs - as his firm predicts - that will match the high turnover rates of the late 1990's, when employees hopscotched from job to job.

"It's a very expensive problem," says Ledford.

For example, a national clothing chain must sell 3,000 pairs of $35 khakis to cover the price of replacing a salesperson who quits, including recruiting, training and lost productivity.

The tab to replace a typical white-collar middle manager runs about $100,000.

"We're a few good breaths away from being back at a lower unemployment rate," says Monster's Jeff Taylor. "Companies can limit their exposure by saying 'thank you' and recognizing the good work people have done for them.

"But I think generally this is where companies have a pretty big miss in this area.


Is Your Boss a Bully?

Five tips on how to cope with a superior who may not have anyone's best interests in mind.

November 11, 2003: 10:53 AM EST By Gerri Willis, CNNfn


Abusive bosses, bullies with big job titles, make everyone else's lives miserable. Online polling shows that the problem is widespread and that an abusive boss is more likely to be a woman than a man.


According to the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute, bullying by women toward women represents 50 percent of all workplace abusiveness. Bullying by men toward women represent 30 percent. Men bullying men is an even rarer situation, at 12 percent.

So what should you know if you think you might be a victim of an abusive boss? Here are today's five tips.

Tip 1: Identify the abusive boss

There are at least four types of abusive bosses, according to the Workplace Bullying & Trauma Institute:

The constant critic who uses put downs, insults, name-calling, and makes aggressive eye contact.

The two-headed snake who pretends to be nice while sabotaging you.

The gatekeeper is also known as the control freak, while the Screaming Mimi is emotionally out of control and explosive.

A March 2003 poll conducted by the consumer research company Maritz showed that 23 percent of American employees would fire their boss if they could.

Tip 2: Know when it's too much

Invariably, any boss is going to exhibit behavior at some point that might be considered abusive. The problem comes when it happens all the time.

It's over the line when it affects your health, if you chronically suffer high blood pressure that started only when you began working for the boss, if you feel nauseous the night before the start of the work week, or if all your paid off-time is used for mental health breaks.

Tip 3: Look at the flip side

Abusive bosses benefit from such behavior because they deliver exactly what their own bosses want. To get a handle on their behavior, consult with people in the office to find out how they respond to people who whistleblow or call them on their offensive behavior.

Some bullies back off if you call them on their actions.

Tip 4: Don't be a wallflower

A bully in the corner office isn't much different than a bully on the playground. Don't present yourself as a victim when dealing with a difficult boss by either apologizing or confessing all the time.

Abusive bosses smell blood. Being humble invites assaults.

Tip 5: Bullying is not illegal

Clearly your boss doesn't have to be nice, kind, or fair. However, if you are suffering some sort of physical ailment or emotional trauma as a result of your boss' actions, then you can ask for reimbursement for medical expenses and days of work lost under Worker's Compensation.

Keep in mind that doing this may create a situation where your boss tries to get back at you. If that happens, this may make for a legal case.

If you can't get satisfaction from Human Resources, try your state's industrial commission, which is responsible for enforcing Worker's Comp rules.

You may not be the only one pursuing these actions; over the past five years more and more employees are filing complaints due to abusive bosses. To understand your rights, go to

* Disclaimer

Warning!! Safety Incentive Programs Under OSHA Scrutiny

Learn How to Defend Your Program

By Marc E. Flanders and Thomas W. Lawrence Jr.


Mention the words "Safety Incentive Program" and heads turn, opinions fly and controversy reins. Is it because of the recent challenge by OSHA claiming that incentive programs might dissuade employees to under-report injuries, perhaps? But incentive programs have always been in the spotlight.
Are they effective? Will the improved safety performance last? Are they games or serious behavioral tools?

Incentive programs are viewed negatively by some. 'We are not going to pay for safe behavior, or 'incentives will intimidate employees not to report injuries' or 'I can get to the same place without using incentives.' However, society as a whole has certainly embraced incentives as a positive method to get results. They are used in all aspects of our lives. Parents and teachers use reward and recognition to attain proper behavior in children. Airlines lure us with frequent flyer rewards. Sports figures are rewarded for maximizing their athletic performance. The stock market rewards us for investing wisely, and CEOs get paid based on the profitability of their companies. It is the American Way! Incentive programs gain people's attention, motivating them to get results! While influencing behavior, reward and recognition makes us feel positive.


Many of us are conditioned by the notion that self-motivation is the right way - we have a mindset that our goals can be attained without the use of incentives. Certainly for many of us this is true. Our professional education may not support an incentive approach. Most safety professionals receive minimal training in this area.

While incentives have become ingrained in society, they often have surreptitiously become a part of our safety programs. How would you answer the following questions?


  1. Does your corporation recognize or reward employees for their safe behavior or achieving performance goals or safety milestones?
  2. Is some portion of managers' or employees' compensation in your corporation based on the performance of the safety program?

If you answered yes on either of these questions, it would be fair to say that your corporation acknowledges the value of incentive programs as part of its overall safety process.

These programs actively involve employees by increasing their safety awareness and helping employees support each other in the prevention of injuries. The word incentive need not have a negative connotation. It has evolved to embody reward & recognition, raise and bonus.


If many companies use these tools and acknowledge (perhaps passively) their value, then why do we still feel uneasy about safety incentive programs? If the discomfort is not the specific program we are involved with, then the concern is likely the stereotype vision of a poorly structured safety incentive program. "Let's give a red sports car away at the end of the year if there are no injuries at the plant."

Some safety incentive programs appear just too excessive…too flamboyant …too greedy…too non-professional! They seem to insult us in their presentation. Further, the structure of some of them could place doubt on the goals of the program.

The methodologies vary. A broad range of incentive programs are available, from safety bingo, to catalogues, to pick-up trucks, to home-grown raffles, to bonus pools, to salary increase reviews, to professionally designed programs. Some are meticulously structured and some are just tacky. Some are integrated into safety programs and some are a substitute for safety programs. Some may be perceived as having the potential to intimidate employees to hide injuries through peer pressure and/or large rewards. Others are void of injury reduction goals and focus more on process. They come in all forms, shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, the few poorly designed ones tend to negatively impact the name of all incentive programs.


OSHA, too has taken notice of the differences between incentive programs. They identify two classifications of incentive programs; Traditional and Non-Traditional.



Two Classifications Traditional Incentive Programs Non-Traditional Incentive Programs
Definition Offers employee rewards that are linked to the reduction of the number of injuries/illnesses reported.

Results Focus

Offers employee rewards that are linked to active involvement in safety related activities - safe work practices - process of prevention.

Active Participation Focus

Example Rewards whenever the facility goes a certain length of time without a lost-workday accident. Rewards for attending safety meetings, identifying hazards, making suggestions.
Consequences According To OSHA Might dissuade employees from reporting injuries, and potential rewards are based on actions of fellow employees. Promotes employee interest in and awareness of safety and health issues without the disadvantages of the traditional approach.

OSHA takes the position that "Traditional Incentive Programs" that link rewards to injury reduction 'can provide an inducement for workers to under-report injuries and illnesses'.

Some members of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) initiated an investigation by OSHA in 1998 to determine if incentive programs lead to under or non-reporting of injuries.

In October of 1998 Dennison Associates, commissioned by OSHA submitted a draft report entitled "Review of the Literature on Safety Incentives". It was finalized in early 1999.

Twenty-seven incentive programs were formally reviewed, 16 non-traditional (safe work practices), 9 traditional (results focus) and 2 dependent on several measures. This was considered empirical research. The remaining literature reviewed was anecdotal and for the most part described programs that linked employees to financial incentives to reduce the number of reported injuries. This was considered non-empirical data. The review states, " Although the outcome of the two types of incentive programs may be the same - a reduced number of injuries and illnesses on the employer's log and a reduction in the employer's costs under workers' compensation, only the former type of program (non-traditional) truly enhances worker safety and health."

……."There is, however, no empirical evidence that such incentive programs (Traditional) have an effect - either positive or negative. We are aware of no empirical studies that evaluate whether incentives exaggerate differences, if any, between reported and actual injury rates."

The Review of the Literature on Safety Incentives was inconclusive.

OSHA has taken three additional actions on this subject the past year:

  1. In mid-'98 OSHA targeted the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association (VPPPA) by way of submitting a set of OSHA incentive program draft guidelines to be followed at VPP sites ("Draft Employee Incentive Programs at VPP Sites"). The policy stated that OSHA does not support Traditional Incentive Programs. They do support Non-Traditional Incentive Programs. VPPPA's response was decisive and persuasive in supporting their memberships' programs, whether Traditional (results focus) or Non-Traditional (those encouraging active employee involvement). VPPPA was not pleased that OSHA was targeting the nation's safest work sites. Although they recognized the potential for underreporting as valid, they did not agree with the guilty-until proven-innocent approach. They suggested that if a problem exists in this area, specific workplaces misusing incentives should be targeted.

    OSHA withdrew implementing the Draft Policy at VPP Sites in a written memorandum. However it has been reported that guidelines governing incentive based programs will be issued on a universal basis in 1999.


  2. USA Waste Management of Ohio is cited by OSHA under 1904.2(a) of the record keeping standard (OSHA 200 log reporting requirement). USA Waste Management has a bonus pool rewarding employees with excellent safety records. The pool also includes good attendance and good work practice. The citation suggests Waste Management coerced employees to go against medical authorities in order to falsify records. USA Waste Management is contesting the citation.

    OSHA will pursue companies with incentive programs.


  3. OSHA Issues "DRAFT SAFETY AND HEALTH PROGRAM RULE" 29 CFR 1900.1 - -paragraph (c)(2)(iii) reads: "The employer must not discourage employees from making reports and recommendations about fatalities, injuries, illnesses, incidents or hazards in the workplace, or from otherwise participating in the workplace safety and health program." The "DRAFT ERGONOMICS REGULATION" at CFR 1910.503 (a) and (b)(3) contains similar language.

    During the June 1999 ASSE Professional Development Conference OSHA officials stated that a preamble discussion on their incentive position would be included in the proposals of each of these two standards. OSHA stated that public comment would be received on the regulations prior to adoption.

    This provision identifies the source of OSHA's concern and will support compliance officers' efforts to identify and cite traditional incentive programs that could be perceived as discouraging employees from reporting injuries and illnesses.

    OSHA has taken a presumption of guilt stance based on a company having a Traditional Incentive Program that rewards employees. They utilize phrases such as "discourage reporting of accidents," "intimidate employees," "might dissuade employees," "can provide an inducement," "must not discourage employees." By definition this type of program is being interpreted as hiding injuries.

    OSHA justifies its criticism of Traditional Incentive Programs because they focus on results. However, OSHA itself bases many of its standards and enforcement efforts on the occurrence of injuries and illnesses or incidence rates. Injury and illness rate rate performance is a must for selection to OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program. Through its long-range strategic plan OSHA self-imposes accountability for the reduction of injuries and illnesses in the workplace. Process will lead to results, but let us not lose sight that results must also be a major component of an injury reduction strategy. Ultimately organizations, their safety professionals and OSHA will be judged by performance.



    These are accusations of a potential problem, not substantiation of an actual problem. Let us recognize the real problem. It is not incentive programs. It is underreporting.

    Underreporting is likely a symptom of management not committed to a safe workplace. If management is intent on hiding injuries they do not need a safety incentive program with an obvious trail to do so. Intimidating employees to hide injuries requires a conspiracy that reaches from top management to supervisors and would have to include the employees in the process.

    As an example, take two employers with Traditional Incentive programs that give away a red sports car at the end of the year for no injuries. It looks like a hokey plan, but there is a difference between these two employers. Employer A has an inadequate a safety program and little commitment to a safe workplace. The word is out, - the employees get the message and will not get hurt and will not report injuries. Employer B on the other hand is committed to safety and demonstrates a strong safety program delivering the right message to employees and the expectation of an injury-free workplace. But if you do get hurt, report it and seek immediate medical aid - nothing else is acceptable.

    The moral of the story might bejust because you're driving a red sports car, it doesn't mean you exceeded the speed limit."----even a poorly designed incentive program with proper commitment and direction from management will not generate injury hiding. It won't because management will not tolerate it.

    If employers want to hide injuries, why leave an incentive program trail. More obvious alternatives are available for a management bent on underreporting injuries to utilize.


    • Poor administration of records
    • Poor internal reporting requirements of injuries
    • Intentional underreporting
    • Intimidation of employees not to report



    OSHA already has authority to act if there is a violation of the General Duty Clause and Record Keeping requirements. These provisions appear to address the underreporting issues.

    The mere existence of an incentive program no matter how poorly designed should not be the object of regulation or the determinant of guilt. If OSHA is truly concerned with the issue of underreporting then they need to look into multiple causes - document underreporting and determine management deficiencies that lead to the situation. Let us clearly distinguish between what is perceived to potentially result in underreporting and actual underreporting. The former is speculation. The later is a matter of documented fact.

    Each company should be able to determine for itself the value of incentives as part of their overall safety program. Hundreds of potential structures exist that may build on combinations of Traditional (targets reduction in injuries) and Non-Traditional (focuses on employee participation) components. The incentive process will depend on the best fit for a particular safety culture at any point in time. Most of us prefer to determine our own type of program. The government should not be in the business of structuring safety incentive programs. This is a buyer's decision.



    *Design considerations need to be based on corporations'
    safety culture profile & overall safety program objectives



    Although their target may be misdirected, NACOSH members and OSHA have already accomplished an important service by raising awareness that all incentive programs are not the same. This discussion is encouraging because it helps employers to reevaluate the strengths and weaknesses of incentive programs.

    Whether or not OSHA implements incentive program guidelines or adopts other methods to address incentive programs, prudent companies should act to put themselves in a defendable position by:


    1. Making sure their Incentive programs are part of a strong overall Safety Program backed by management.
    2. Developing custom programs that fit the company profile & objectives.
      • Structuring incentive programs with the same professional and diligent care as the other components in the safety program.
      • If injury reduction is a goal, develop a balanced program that includes both Traditional (targets reduction in injuries) and Non-Traditional (focuses on employee participation)
    3. Having upper management send a clear message to middle management and employees that underreporting or non-reporting will not be tolerated.
    4. Making sure OSHA records are meticulously maintained.
    5. Keeping employees involved not only as program participants, but also in the implementation and monitoring process.


    Incentive programs are here to stay. They are too effective and popular not to be considered as part of the menu of safety options. NACOSH members and OSHA are sending employers a strong message: If you utilize results-oriented Traditional Incentive programs, make sure you develop a structure that will not intimidate employees to underreport injuries nor be perceived to underreport injuries.

    Corporations should not be intimidated by this message. They should not compromise the goals of their incentive programs because of these actions. Rather, this should be an opportunity to strengthen incentive programs and to develop structures that not only maximize results, but also meet the self-imposed standards expected of responsible employers.



    1. Finnegan, Lisa. "Will OSHA Regulate INCENTIVE PROGRAMS"-Occupational Hazards Magazine - 6/98
    3. Elliot, Lee Anne, Director. Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association (VPPPA) response to OSHAs' Draft Policy - 8/14/98
    4. Inside OSHA, Vol. 5 No. 21 -"Recordkeeping Citation Could Spark Ban on Safety Incentive Games"- October 19,1998
    6. OSHA "DRAFT EROGONOMICS REGULATION" 29 CFR 1910.500.512 - 2/12/99
    7. OSHA - REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ON SAFETY INCENTIVES - prepared by Dennison Associates in Association with Ruth Ruttenberg & Associates - October 1998
    8. BNAC Safety Communicator, "Safety Incentive Program Claims Not Supported by Evidence, OSHA Official Says" - Winter 1999

    Marc E. Flanders, ARM
    is Principal of WC Solutions Group in Chesterfield, MO, a risk management consulting firm specializing in the custom design and implementation of motivational processes to improve workplace safety. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowling Green University, and an Associate in Risk Management (ARM). Marc was former President of Tarsus Toastmasters. He has presented at national and local professional organizations. Topics include controlling risk in diverse cultural environments through the development of safety network communication systems between management and employees. He is an Associate Member of the Risk and Insurance Management Society and a Professional Member of the ASSE's St. Louis Chapter.

    Thomas W. Lawrence Jr. CSP, P.E.
    is Principal with Risk, Reliability and Safety Engineering of Houston, Texas. Tom is based in the St. Louis Office of RRS and is a professional member of the St. Louis Chapter, the Consultant's Division, and ASSE's Government Affairs Committee. He is a former president of the St. Louis Chapter, a former president of the Board of Certified Safety Professionals and is past chair of the Business and Industry Division of the National Safety Council. Tom was awarded ASSE's 1998-1999 Edgar Monsanto Queeny Safety Professional of the Year. He holds the B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Auburn University.


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