If you commute to work chances are good that you see your share of accidents each week – and perhaps a good number of near misses. I’m surprised the number isn’t higher given the congestion of our nation’s roads and highways. In many ways, highway safety has much in common with safety incentive programs.
An examination of NHTSA safety data regarding highway fatalities confirms that even with a slight increase from 2011 to 2012, over the past five years they are at historic lows. According to the report, “fatalities in 2011 were at the lowest level since 1949 and even with this slight increase in 2012, we are still at the same level of fatalities as 1950. Early estimates on crash fatalities for the first half of 2013 indicate a decrease in deaths compared to the same timeframe in 2012.”
Of course, there are a lot of reasons for this trend. Today’s vehicles are safer, thanks to ABS, seat belts, airbags, traction control, and other innovations. Honda even offers a Goldwing motorcycle with an airbag. In other words, safety is a priority.
Roads and highways are constructed with safety in mind. Remember from your childhood the old “dead man’s curve” or “suicide hill?” Every community had one or both, but now roads are designed to be much safer to travel. Road and highway signage is improved as well.
Many states have adopted more stringent guidelines for new drivers in an effort to foster safer, well informed, more educated drivers. National, multi-channel driver safety campaigns about seat belt use, child restraint systems, alcohol or drug impaired driving, and distracted driving are also prevalent.
So how do these correlate to your safety incentive program? Think about the highway system as the workplace, full of workers instead of commuters. The goal of safety incentive programs is to create a culture of safety in order to prevent and/or reduce accidents. We don’t want harm to come to our employees – and we also don’t want to harm the organization with lost time accidents that could be prevented.
Vehicle safety innovations and safety-focused road construction are not unlike your responsibility to provide all employees with a safe working environment – through safe work areas and the use of all available safety equipment.
Finally, education and communication are imperative – much like you would use leading safety indicators – designed to focus your employees on the right kinds of behaviors in order to prevent future accidents. You also should use lagging safety indicators – such as the NHTSA data – to measure past occurrences.
Contact us to find out more about safety incentive programs and the use of leading and lagging safety indicators in your program.