Reinforcing Safety Awareness: Paycheck safety tips to departmental competition

When can you easily communicate safety information to all employees? Why not use the pay stub or in the case of direct deposit payroll, the summary to write a safety tip?

Reinforce the notion that workplace safety is the company's number one employee benefit. Simple messages regarding wearing proper protective gear or situational awareness remind workers to think safe.

Some suggestions for the safety message:

1. X days since our last on the job injury. Keep up the good work.

2. Case history of a claim that does occur: safety devices used or not, what steps to prevent in future, result of injuries (lost time, medical expenses), and any new procedures.

3. Announce contests or bonus structure for safe operations.

4. Reinforce that the company considers safety an important employee benefit.

5. Safety tip of the week, pay period, or month. For example: use proper safety glasses and procedures during October eye-safety month.

Use the message to promote safe habits and distribute knowledge. 

This idea can be used to promote proper maintenance as well. "Let the mechanic know if your backhoe is leaking hydraulic fluid as soon as you notice one drop" might save major repairs later.

Do you have divisions or operational units in your company? Promote safety as competition between or among the groups. Maybe the members of the group with the fewest accidents get new 50" flat-screens.

Whenever a contest is used to promote safety, give a tangible prize, not money or a meal. That prize will reinforce the safety ethic every time it is seen. Even if the prize is specially logo-ed safety equipment or hard hats, the safety ethic is reinforced.

Positive reinforcement works best. Asking employees to lead more healthy lives is less effective than paying for their healthcare or holding a heart-healthy check up at work. Health and safety are core ethics of your company. 

Punishing poor safety performance does nothing to retrain individuals. Certain behaviors should be non-negotiable aspects of the job. Improper equipment or refusal to use protective equipment or procedures should result in dismissal. That employee is a danger to everyone. 

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