What will yours be? There are many best practice goals to consider, but one should never be to encourage a zero injury goal. Establishing such a goal has been advised against for years, yet many companies continue to set – and promote – zero injuries for the year. In fact, many corporate executives reward attainment with bonuses or other lavish incentives.

Despite good intentions unfortunately such a goal usually has negative repercussions, including under-reporting of injuries. Other noted consequences include,

  1. Pressure on managers to ensure that their departments are injury-free (and consequentially, pressure on their employees)
  2. Negative consequences for reporting injuries and incidents
  3. Fear of reporting incidents, injuries, and even safety concerns and errors
  4. Employee guilt and negative feelings if an injury does occur
  5. Great lengths to hide errors, injuries, and illnesses
  6. Lack of investigation to correct issues and prevent future incidents

We have heard story after story regarding each of these six consequences.  One unfortunate one is an employee who fell walking on a slippery floor. He was unable to stand with  any pressure on one leg and so his supervisor and a co-worker carried him to his car. His ankle was actually broken and of course he lied about how it happened.  The incident was never investigated and the cause was not corrected allowing the hazard to continue. All this so that his department would be treated to an end of year pizza dinner.

Instead, focus your safety program goals on doing the right things every day to ensure that employees are safe and well. Consider goals and reward outcomes such as,

  • Attaining 100% completion of required annual safety training
  • Ensuring mandatory attendance at Safety Committee Meetings
  • Requiring managers to provide safety topic review during department meetings
  • Encouraging and rewarding injury and incident reporting
  • Promoting and rewarding near miss and hazard identification reporting
  • Completing incident investigations in a timely manner
  • Responding to employee concerns and actively encouraging safety conversations

There are many positive goal options that lead to beneficial outcomes for both employees and the organization. Goals should be considered and selected with input from employees and managers. We would love to hear your 2019 Safety goals and are happy to discuss options as well as best practices.  Feel free to contact us if you would like a sounding board for your ideas.