The Incentive Federation, a trade association dedicated to promoting, protecting and providing research in the incentive field, and of which PPAI is a member, has issued a response to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) revised draft of its Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines. OSHA’s draft includes language critical of safety incentive programs and the guidelines state: “Incentive programs for workers or managers that tie performance evaluations, compensation or rewards to low injury and illness rates can discourage injury and illness reporting. Point systems that penalize workers for reporting injuries, illnesses or other safety or health concerns have the same effect, as can mandatory drug testing after reporting injuries. Effective safety and health programs recognize positive safety and health activities, such as reporting hazardous conditions or suggesting safer work procedures.”

The Incentive Federation’s response notes that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace injuries are on the decline and those that do occur result in lost productivity, increased compensation claims, damaged equipment, poor employee morale and retention, and litigation. The letter says, “Safety programs are an extremely effective means of reducing all types of workplace injuries. When they are implemented properly, they have a multitude of salutary effects.  As the BLS Survey cited above recognizes, the total number of injuries to workers has been dropping for over a decade, in large part due to the fact that many companies, especially larger ones, have adopted safety programs.”

In his recent Connections blog, PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, supports the Incentive Federation’s stance by saying, “These new Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines put a negative stigma and a blanket generalization on all safety incentive programs, which is just not the case. Limiting potential hazards in the workplace is something both employees and employers take very seriously in an effort to have a safer workplace, and all methods of safety prevention should be considered when trying to achieve these objectives.”

The Incentive Federation’s full response is available here.