18 April 2008
As a final resort, discipline can be used as a motivator. It carries risks such as conflict, avoidance and sometimes employee frustration. Before applying discipline, consider the following:
•As a rule disciplinary action should be reserved for repeated instances of unsafe behavior by employees who have failed to respond to incentive motivators.
•Disciplinary action should sequence beginning with verbal warnings, written warnings, suspension, and in some cases termination.
Companies with zero tolerance safety policies should communicate the importance of these safety violations to all employees. Zero tolerance normally means it is a one strike rule, termination for the first safety violation for the infractions in the safety policy.
For disciplinary action to be effective and legal, a written program and documentation is important.
Using these three keys to motivating safety in the workplace will create a safety system and culture that will encourage employees, supervisors, and management to plan and provide a safe working environment for all your employees. The values of management and employees will provide a company with the opportunity to have an accident-free workplace. Companies that invest in safety programs are rewarded by employees with good attitudes, low turnover of staff, and are consistently the most profitable in the industry.