March 18 Tip of the Week

OSHA Workplace Safety Incentive Programs


Does your workplace have a safety incentive program that rewards employees for completing a certain number of days without a work-related injury?  OSHA previously released guidance stating that such programs can often have the effect of discouraging reporting.  For example, let’s say XYZ Vegan Butcher Shop has a program where if the employees can go 100 days without getting injured on-the-job, they will all receive a Thanksgiving turky.  On day 99, Larry slices his finger cutting through a thick, juicy slab of seitan.  Rather than risking losing the coveted tofurky for everyone, he eschews medical treatment and just wraps his wound up in organic paper towel and duct tape and carries on with his day.  

Here, Larry has been discouraged from reporting his injury by XYZ’s incentive program.  This is prohibited by OSHA. Recently OSHA has clarified its position that incentive programs are not per se prohibited, but that any incentive program should be carefully drafted so as not to deter individuals from reporting.  For example, the company could also implement an incentive program to reward employees for reporting unsafe conditions or reporting near misses.  If you are concerned about your workplace safety program, contact one of the attorneys at myHRcounsel today for expert guidance on this issue.