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Lab Health and Safety

Provide Incentives for Safety Performance

When safety is done right it should be recognized.

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Everyone likes to receive a reward for good performance. It can be a merit raise, it can be good grades, it can be a promotion, or it can be praise from a superior. Good performance deserves to be recognized and rewarded. Safety performance is no different. When it’s done right, it should be recognized.

For students, grades and praise are good incentives. For staff members it becomes more difficult. Academic institutions do not usually give merit raises. Even so, if you perform staff evaluations, make safety one of the written criteria. Let staff members with good safety performance records get recognized, appreciated, and generally treated in a way that others would want to emulate.

Make sure the folks who get promoted are good safety performers. Otherwise, you’re giving a very mixed signal.

See if you can get the dean, department head, or president to host a party or barbeque if the school or company can achieve an accident-free record over a prescribed length of time. Post the goal and keep visible track of your progress. “Our goal is an accident free [name of the month or quarter] - etc.”

Source: Kaufman, James A., Laboratory Safety Guidelines - Expanded Edition, The Laboratory Safety Institute,