The 5 Components of Effective Employee Safety Reward Programs

Employee Safety Reward Programmes can really increase staff engagement in your business safety strategy, ensuring buy-in to new safety targets across the organisation. If they are well thought out and implemented properly, incentives can make the difference between simply understanding and actually putting workplace safety rules into practice, regardless of your business size or industry.


When designing a new reward programme, it’s a good idea to ask employees to get involved in aspects of its creation. Look together at where you have the greatest safety exposures – the programme will work most effectively if it targets your existing work culture. What rewards would staff like to earn? How will they be measured? Involvement in these decisions will help motivate your employees to be more engaged in the programme, to exhibit behaviours that are safer, and to go home safely every day.

Before you get started, consider these 5 components that we feel are needed to ensure the success of your safety reward programme:

1. Communication

Communicate about your programme to maintain awareness. Make it fun and visible, but also effective. Make sure your workers know what it takes to achieve a reward and what observers will be looking for. Equally, shout about the positive impact of improved behaviours and actions on Safety. Consider using posters, sending employee newsletters, issuing email messages from the CEO, and holding site briefings to name winners.

2. Rewards for doing the job right

Reward observable safe behaviours rather than rewarding the absence of unsafe behaviour. Put focus on the behaviours that you want to see more of. Mobilise supervisors and management to seek out opportunities to catch employees working safely, using the right safety equipment, wearing the right PPE, and using safe work practices. Recognise on the spot and give them rewards on the spot - in front of their peers.

3. Regular Rewards

Building in a reward component to your safety programme is essential for success. Rewarding often is proven to increase success rates and effectiveness. Some experts suggest that awards need to be given out at least every 30 -60 days if not weekly. It is generally thought to be difficult to reward proactive behaviour every 6 months or a year when the safety behaviours you are encouraging happen on a daily basis. This does not mean to say that being injury free for 6 months etc. is not rewardable but this should be just one part of the safety incentives programme.

4. Management Buy In

As with any effective business strategy there should be total management commitment to safety from the board down. Management should be involved and “visible”, whether handing out rewards or addressing employees. The message needs to be clear – from board level they are responsible & passionate about ensuring that employees return home safely to their families every day.

5. Structured Rewards

Set SMART rewards, -realistic, clearly defined and measurable goals for achieving rewards. Don’t set your goals so high that your employees will fail and discourage participation. Goals that are set too low however, will not offer any incentive to the employee to change behaviours.

But what Rewards?

Brainstorm with your staff about what rewards will really incentivise them. Whether it’s a meal out, a gift card or even lottery tickets, whatever rewards or methods you choose to acknowledge safe behaviour should be genuine, important, meaningful and really worth achieving. Some of the most effective rewards are the simplest.


Looking for a PPE provider who understands the challenge of driving safe behaviour? Speak to the experts at Anchor Safety - we can help. Call us on 0800 328 5028 or Request a Call back.