On Wednesday, May 12, at 3:00 pm ET, OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels will lead a special free webcast related to the issue of safety incentive programs.  Titled "A Conversation with Assistant Secretary for OSHA Dr. David Michaels:  What to do About Safety Incentives," the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) event will discuss "the difference between appropriate and inappropriate safety incentives in the workplace."  Click here to learn more about the webcast.

The issue of safety incentive programs and their effect on the reporting of injuries and illnesses has been widely discussed within safety and health circles over the last year, as a result of the focus on these programs within OSHA’s Recordkeeping National Emphasis Program (NEP).  Sample employee questionnaires included in the recently renewed NEP ask the following questions about incentive programs:

  • In your workplace, are there prizes, rewards or bonuses to supervisors or managers that are linked to the number of injuries or illnesses recorded on the OSHA log?
  • In your workplace, are there demerits, punishment or disciplinary policies for reporting injuries or illnesses?
  • In your workplace, is there post-injury drug testing for all or most work-related injuries and illnesses?   

OSHA follows these with questions asking employees whether these types of programs encourage, discourage, or have no effect on the reporting of injuries and illnesses.

Safety incentive programs are ubiquitous and it is important for OSHA to provide guidance to employers about the programs that it views as having a negative effect on the reporting of injuries and illnesses.  This webcast is an excellent first start in that process and all employers are encouraged to listen in.