Two Fun Ways to Reinforce Safety
By Josh Williams, Ph.D.
Sometimes safety can feel like a drag. Leaders are constantly reinforcing safety meetings, rules, policies etc. These are critical safety accountabilities but aren’t always fun. Here are two quick ways to add a little spice to your safety programs.
Fairs aren’t just for kids. Establish annual employee safety fairs to reinforce safety and have some fun. Provide speakers, health tests, music, food, and giveaways (like first aid kits) and invite employees’ families to join in on the fun. Forward-thinking organizations emphasize wellness programs to promote employee health and safety. Hosting events centered around safety shows that your organization views the wellbeing of their employees (and employees’ families) as a priority. It sends the message that safety is a core value.
Example: One biotech company in California hosts regular safety fairs where employees go with their families to eat healthy food, receive back and foot massages, and get various health checks completed (e.g., blood pressure tests, cholesterol checks). This organization also has a state-of-the-art gymnasium with incentives for employees to use it. They also pipe in new-age music every couple of hours so employees can stop what they’re doing and do light stretching for two to three minutes to combat fatigue and repetitive motion injuries. Not surprisingly, this company has high employee involvement for safety and very few injuries.
Investing in employees through safety fairs and other events leads to happier and healthier employees who take an active role in improving their company’s safety culture.
Thumbs Up Stickers
Use Thumbs Up Stickers as “rewards” for process successes. They can be given to employees individually for safety recognition (e.g., used on hardhats) or affixed to equipment and facilities where changes have been made from employee feedback.
Why it matters
Organizations are often quick to assign blame but are lacking when it comes to positive reinforcement of good safety behaviors. Stickers are associated with joy, fun and reward. While they may seem childish, they are a tangible way of recognizing workers for following safety guidelines, offering safety suggestions, and reporting close calls and minor injuries. Moreover, Thumbs Up Stickers function as physical reminders for employees to pay attention to safety in their daily environment. This is like college football teams awarding helmet stickers for exceptional plays in key moments.
We don’t want safety to feel like a chore done out of fear of repercussions. We want employees to strive for safety improvement, not just settle for following established guidelines. Something as simple as Thumbs Up Stickers can really get the ball rolling with culture improvement.
Example: One organization developed safety champion stickers for employees, which were designed to replicate the college football practice of putting team logo stickers on helmets following exceptional plays. When leaders or fellow employees observed especially safe actions, they gave the employee a sticker to put on their hard hat. Many employees really appreciated these stickers and some had their hard hats full of stickers as a show of their own commitment to safety. Remember: rewarding positive safety behavior doesn’t have to be extravagant – it can be as simple as giving away stickers!
Sprinkle in some spice to strengthen your safety systems. Introducing safety fairs, recognition stickers, and other ‘outside of the box’ programs are just a few ways you can make this happen today.
At Propulo, we work with leaders find new and fun ways to reinforce safety.