Why Zero Injuries Is Not Your Goal

For years, safety leaders have been challenged with hitting the goal of zero injuries. Millions of dollars have been spent by leading firms in search of Zero, the "Holy Grail" of safety. Many of these efforts have proved beneficial, and yet many others must be questioned. Some of the finest safety cultures meet the goal of Zero Injuries, only to find that a tragic event shatters Zero, leaving it a hollow memory of what was, but no longer is. Why does this happen?

  • Is Zero really the right goal or is there a better one that will drive continuous safety improvement? Learn what lies Beyond Zero, and how this is the goal your culture must strive for to not only survive, but also thrive in today's competitive landscape.

  • Learn about the OSHA position on employee incentive programs

  • Learn how to comply with OSHA rules and still have an effective reward program

  • Learn the difference between lagging and leading indicator systems

  • Learn what builds up and what tears down a workplace safety culture

Recognition plays a significant role in achieving permanent employee behavior change. Traditionally, safety "incentive" programs have based rewards on all employees reaching a benchmark. When rewards are based on everyone succeeding, negative peer pressure can occur, resulting in injury hiding.

Proactive, prevention-oriented reward programs that focus on identifying desirable actions, behaviors and conditions and eliminating unsafe actions, behaviors and conditions effectively produce employee behavior change without the unwanted side-effect of injury hiding. Tangible rewards that are positive, regular and certain reinforce desirable behaviors and conditions, making them more likely to continue and even replace undesirable behaviors and conditions.

The Fear of Recognition Programs

There is a fear among safety managers that employee recognition programs create or encourage injury hiding. While it's true that a poorly designed program can lead to injury hiding, this is not a universal truth. As we explore the concepts and strategies behind safety recognition programs, it will become evident that a properly developed safety recognition program can have lasting behavior change benefits without negative results like injury hiding or nepotism.

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