Safety Award Programs

Encourage employees to exercise greater care.

With the costs of accidents so high, both in financial costs and human costs, it is beneficial to implement a safety program that will reward your employees for being more conscious of the dangers around themselves and others.

The purpose of a safety program is to encourage employees to exercise greater care and be more conscious of hazards so that the number of accidents will be reduced.

Who Needs a Safety Program?

Any time you have a large group of employees working together in a workplace that has potential hazards; a safety award program is a good idea. Typically organizations that have more than 100 employees, who may use heavy or dangerous equipment, or do shift work.

The purpose of a safety program is to encourage employees to exercise greater care and be more conscious of hazards so that the number of accidents will be reduced.

What Type of Rewards Work?

There are many types of rewards that can be offered for such a program. It has been determined that tangible incentives are highly desired by participants as they serve as symbols of success, as well as they reinforce pride of achievement and teamwork. When you recognize and reward safe behaviours you send the message that you are trying to build a positive and safe environment.

How Much Will it Cost Me?

Safety incentive and recognition programs are not an expense, they are an investment. Safety professionals know that reducing the risk of accidents can greatly reduce insurance premiums, equipment costs, fewer days lost on the job, disability claims, and human costs. Implementing a program doesn’t need to be expensive, just effective and timely. In addition to immediate savings gained from a reduction in incidents and longer-term savings on Workers’ Compensation premiums, there are ongoing gains from having a highly motivated and productive workforce.

Annual Death Toll

Tragically, thousands of workers, every year, have their life changed because of a major injury while hundreds more lose their life because of their work. No job is worth dying for, yet over 900 people lose their lives annually. These are not accidents, they can be prevented. It’s important to remember that Canada still has one of the highest rates of workplace deaths in the industrialized world, and even one death is still one too many. (Canadian Labour Congress)

Benefits to Offering Safety Award Programs:

• Practice good safety procedures
• Create a culture of safety
• Reduce on the job accidents
• Reduce insurance costs
• Lower worker’s compensation costs
• Avoid costly interruptions to operations
• Improve productivity
• Improve employee attitude and morale
• Improve overall product quality
• Enhance a feeling of teamwork
• Pride of accomplishment
• Productive habits
• Elimination of many hazards
• A better safety record

Organizations that can Benefit: 

  • Manufacturing
  • Oilfield
  • Construction
  • Transportation
  • Trades
  • Fishing
  • Mining
  • Agriculture
  • Utilities
  • Service
  • Government
  • Industrial

How Level 2 Can Help You

Once you have the basic outline of your program developed (budget, timeline, goals, etc.), we can help you put together the tangible rewards that will wow your participants. We will work within your budget, can create catalogues of the products, and also work with you on the different procurement methods available.

Contact us today for more information and assistance on developing the right program for your team.

Reward Behavior

When setting up your program, each company will have its own unique levels that they expect its participants to achieve.

  • Achieve a safety record that equals or exceeds a level considered satisfactory by the client
  • Being a member of a safety team that practices safety improvement ideas and implementation
  • Being certified in first aid and CPR
  • Member of a safety committee
  • Reaching quarterly or monthly goals of NO recordable accidents
  • Improvement over prior period
  • Peer to peer recognition
  • Good behavior
  • Reporting near miss
  • Developing an action plan to eliminate a hazard
  • Submitting safety improvement ideas

Actual Rewards

There are two ways to reward your employees.

Pros: Some companies feel money is a great incentive because it is

employee incentives
  • Simple to use.
  • The bearer can choose to do with it what he/she chooses.


  • When money is given out consistently, it becomes an entitlement, not a reward.
  • It quickly loses its motivational ability.
  • It does not last.
  • Often spent on groceries or the utility bill.

Pros: Tangible items or “incentive based premiums” can be effective.

employee recognition
  • Items can be company promotional products, electronics, clothing, jewellery, etc.
  • These items stay around longer than money.
  • They have a gift nature which adds to the specialness of the reward.
  • They serve as symbols of success.
  • They are more creative.
  • Are more likely to stimulate excitement.
  • Can have a higher perceived value than what they actually cost.
  • Are gifts without the guilt of how money should be spent.
  • Are less likely to encourage cheating within the program.
  • Employees and their families are constantly reminded of the incentive each time they use the gift.


  • Ensure you choose the right rewards for the program. The rewards need to be strong enough to influence habitual behaviour, and provide adequate incentive for participants.

Why Safety Programs?

A well-designed program provides benefits for both the employee and employer. It helps lower the risk of workplace accidents and deaths. It also means less time lost on the job and lower insurance claims.

  • Higher worker compensation payments
  • Higher insurance rates
  • Payment to injured employees
  • Lower productivity levels
  • Work stoppage or interruptions
  • Higher cost of temporary help
  • Accident associated paperwork
  • Damaged equipment
  • Training new employees
  • Lower morale

How to Create a Successful Safety Program

Budget – first determine a budget for the safety award program.

  • Estimate approximately how many awards you expect to hand out per year and then calculate the cost per person that you can spend on each award.
  • The rewards used in the program must be strong enough to influence behavior or the program will not succeed. If the budget is not sufficient to provide adequate incentives for participants, it will typically not change habitual behaviors.
  • Make sure rules are fair and easy to understand.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Allow everyone who performs well to earn a reward.
  • Award on a regular, predetermined schedule so that good habits are established.
  • Focus on employees doing things right.
  • Don’t always recognize the best employee. Look for ways to encourage a poor performer as well as they will tend to work harder.
  • All levels of management must be on board with the program prior to implementation, otherwise it will not work.
  • Communicate your safety program on a consistent basis. Speak of it daily, remind your employees to work safely. Share lessons learned and celebrate employees who stand out as safety models and leaders.
  • Take the time to listen to your employees concerns. If they are telling you that things are not working properly, listen and take action when appropriate.
  • The 3 R’s – Relevancy, Repetition and Reward will help you achieve your goals.
    • Relevancy means you must create a theme for your program that the workers can relate to and reflects their language and values.
    • Repetition means you have to deliver your message again and again with variations of your safety message so it retains their interest while reinforcing the objective.
    • Reward means they clearly see their payoff for working safely in terms of their lives and their prizes.

Occupational Health and Safety Statistics

The following is an initial analysis of the 2014 Occupational Health and Safety data from the Workers’ Compensation Board–Alberta (WCB–Alberta).

  • The provincial lost-time claim rate for 2014 was 1.31 per 100 person-years, a decrease of 2.9 per cent from 2013
  • The provincial disabling injury rate for 2014 was 2.63 per 100 person-years, a decrease of 1.4 per cent from 2013 (attached, Table 1).
  • The number of lost-time claims decreased by 0.2 per cent in 2014, from 27,619 to 27,577 claims. The number of modified-work claims increased by 2.1 per cent in 2014, from 43,428 to 44,359. The combined measure of disabling injury claims increased by 1.4 per cent in 2014, from 54,500 to 55,245.
  • Estimated person-years figures for Alberta increased by 2.9 per cent in 2014.
  • The number of fatality claims decreased by 10.1 percent in 2014, from 188 to 169
  • The provincial fatality rate decreased by 12.6 per cent to 80 fatalities per million person- years in 2014.
  • Occupational disease continued to be the leading cause of worker death in 2014, accounting for 47.9 per cent of all occupational fatality claims, followed by workplace incidents.