Think beyond safety awards: Benefits of adopting a strategic safety recognition program

Keeping the workforce safe on-site is imperative for all employers, but it can be difficult to accomplish without having a strong safety culture. However, creating a culture of safety in the workplace lies in identifying occupational safety and health hazards that may put employees at risk of injury or illness. One way to do this is by developing a strategic safety recognition program that informs workers about occupational hazards, educates them about how they can protect themselves while on-site and rewards them for doing so.

According to TLNT, a human resource site, many employers believe instituting a “no safety incidents” award program can create a strong safety culture. While these rewards may incentivize workers to adopt safe practices and risks of experiencing an occupational injury or illness, the rewards may not be the most effective way to do so.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) created the Safety and Health Achievement Program (SHARP) to encourage small-business owners to improve their injury and illness prevention programs. Achieving a SHARP designation allows an employer to be exempt from OSHA programmed inspections during the timeframe of the certification’s validity. Employers may want to follow OSHA’s lead and create a safety recognition program that goes beyond simply providing a reward for safe workplace performance.

Benefits of a strategic safety recognition program 
The SHARP program reminds employers to continue striving to protect their workforce from on-the-job injuries and illnesses. Many employees may not understand the importance of following each safety practice, so it may be a good idea for employers to adopt an initiative similar to SHARP.

According to TLNT, structured safety recognition programs encourage employees to identify which situations may not be safe and reward them for taking the appropriate steps to correct the issue. When workers feel safety is valued and their actions to create a more secure workplace are recognized, they may be more willing to implement their safety knowledge.

In fact, OSHA’s SHARP program has seen numerous benefits for employers that have acquired the certification. The program encourages employers to provide employees with protective gear, improves employee morale and enthusiasm for safety and enhances worker retention.

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