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I wonder if the decline in safety recognition plans results from a shift in lower technology to higher technology manufacturing, the use of robotics, the loss of manufacturing positions to foreign countries and moving from a labor to service sector economy. It would be interesting to map the safety recognition plans percentage with the declining GNP for manufacturing business sector. On the other hand, we have numerous trucking firms in our region of the country and they place a significant emphasis on truck driver safety recognition programs.

Great post, Ann. We're focusing more and more on safety and recognition programs. Too many companies go the easy way and end up incenting the wrong behavior, like rewarding people/groups that have the fewest incidents. This often just encourages non-reporting.

Instead companies should encourage true safety and recognize and reward people when they uncover safety issues, report them, offer solutions proactively or even reactively -- anything that helps keep employees (and/or the public) safe. Isn't that the point of safety programs?

Blair: Good points, it would be interesting to look at this on an industry by industry basis. I'd bet it's a very varied and multi-angled story when you take it down to that level.

Derek: It is the point, isn't it? Good to hear that this is a growing part of what your group is focusing on - recognition does seem to be particularly well-suited to reinforcing safety.


Safety is huge at my company, being in the mining and construction industries. We now reward both inputs (behavior and safety programs, audits, etc) as well as outputs (incident rates) to balance things, at the same time trying to have a safety culture. So far, so good.

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About The Author

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    Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.

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