OSHA Hates Safety Incentive Programs

September 1, 2015 No Comments

In March 2005, 15 workers died and 180 others were injured during an explosion at the BP Texas City refinery.  The refinery had a safety incentive program that tied workers’ bonuses to achieving low rates of injuries and illnesses.  A January 2007 study conducted by an independent panel after the explosion found, among other issues, that workers feared reprisals for reporting potentially risky conditions at the refinery.

Safety incentive programs can provide disincentives for workers to report injuries and illnesses to their employers.  According to some workplace safety and health experts, certain safety incentive programs may discourage workers from reporting workplace injuries and illnesses. Because of ongoing concerns that injuries and illnesses are not always reported,  the US GAO investigated this to answer the following questions:

  • What is known about the effect of workplace safety incentive programs and other workplace safety policies on injury and illness reporting?
  • How prevalent are workplace safety incentive programs, as well as other workplace safety policies that may affect injury and illness reporting?
  • What actions has OSHA taken to address how workplace safety incentive programs and other policies may affect injury and illness reporting?

To read the final GAO report entitled “Better OSHA Guidance Needed on Safety Incentive Programs“, click here.

Safety Articles

Translate This Page