As the Holiday Season draws near I’m looking forward to the 1983 classic A Christmas Story yet again. Ralphie’s personal and family experiences (as viewed from Ralphie’s perspective) are hilarious and entertaining. The film is about childhood and human nature – against the backdrop of the Holidays. I find that this story causes me to think of recognition programs – particularly safety incentives.
Remember Ralphie’s friend’s response to a Triple-Dog-Dare that he stick his tongue to a freezing flag pole? This decidedly unwise act resulted in a dispatch of emergency personnel to free him. Remember Ralphie’s passionate wish to get a Daisy Red Ryder 200-shot Carbine Action BB Gun for Christmas? Everyone (including his mother, teacher and even Santa) admonishes him saying, “You’ll shoot your eye out.” When he receives his Red Ryder, he actually manages to break his glasses after being struck by a BB.
Effective safety programs address lifestyle as well as workplace attitudes and safe behaviors – and do not encourage underreporting of injuries or unsafe practices. Remember what Ralphie did after breaking his glasses? He tried to hide the episode from his mother.
OSHA is concerned with safety incentive programs designed or implemented in such a way as to encourage employees not to report incidents. Lynette Silva discusses OSHA’s concern in this post and offers 3 tips for effective safety programs. Safety recognition is a tool that can promote participation in safety activities and provide rewards to those meeting or exceeding objectives. Silva’s program recommendations include:
- Defining core safety values and associated behaviors that clearly outline what is expected from employees. Values should reflect your desire for employees to proactively report potentially hazardous or unsafe conditions or behaviors.
- Encouraging all employees to recognize each other for living these safety values.
- Leading by example. Make recognizing safe behaviors a part of management KPIs.
Be sure to catch A Christmas Story this year. And contact us if we can assist with your existing or potential safety incentive program.