Creating a Culture of Safety Recognition: Best Practices for Employers

by Mar 23, 2023

Promoting a positive work culture and psychological safety as a crucial part of employee well-being and productivity – that’s why it’s at the top of our minds. How about yours? Part of creating a safe workplace environment involves encouraging employees to prioritize safety on the job – and it could include psychological safety too! So let’s talk about safety recognition programs.


What are Safety Recognition Programs?

Safety recognition programs are structured initiatives that reward employees for following safety protocols and engaging in safe behavior. These programs can include public praise, awards, or certificates for meeting specific safety goals, such as reducing workplace accidents or increasing compliance with safety procedures.

As I said above, consider that your safety program could include psychological safety too. What could it be like if people on the manufacturing floor were tracking days without physical accidents AND days without causing someone psychological harm? 

Okay, that might sound a little silly. But really, why can’t you find ways to include psychological safety in your safety programs?

Safety recognition programs can motivate employees to prioritize safety and reinforce its importance in your organization’s culture. Respectful behavior recognition programs can do the same. 


Best Practices for Safety Recognition Programs

We’ve identified some best practices for designing and implementing successful safety recognition programs, including:


  • Tie recognition to company values

Establishing safety procedures and recognition programs alone won’t be sufficient to foster a healthy workplace culture. To emphasize the significance of these programs and develop a culture where safety is truly prioritized, make sure you match them with the company’s values and mission. In other words, your organization’s values and mission should be included in your safety recognition initiatives.

One way to do that is to review how your core values can influence safety. If one of your values is Respecting Diversity and Building Inclusion, for example, you might communicate that when people are included they’re more confident in speaking up if someone’s doing something unsafe, or if they see an issue that could cause an accident. 


  • Provide ongoing training

This might go without saying, but make sure your employees have the knowledge and skills they need to work safely. (There, I said it.) Provide ongoing training to reinforce safe practices and help employees stay up-to-date on any changes to safety regulations. 

Beyond the physical safety stuff, if you’re tying safety into your core value of Respecting Diversity and Building Inclusion, you can train and measure people on their ability to include others as part of your safety initiatives and recognition. 

We offer a range of training programs designed to help organizations create safer and more positive work environments!


  • Celebrate successes

Celebrate employees who meet or exceed safety goals. Who doesn’t love a good celebration of their achievements? Doing so can build morale and motivation among employees, and create a sense of pride and accomplishment that can lead to more engagement. Of course, increased engagement means increased productivity. 

So make time to celebrate safety successes regularly, whether through informal recognition, formal award ceremonies, or other types of incentives. 


  • Track and analyze 

Monitor pertinent data, such as the number of safety incidents before and after the program’s adoption, to evaluate its effectiveness. This way you can spot trends and potential improvement areas, then adapt as needed to maximize the program’s impact.

Make sure your program is tailored and relevant to your employees and organization. Create a safer and healthier workplace culture through safety recognition programs!



Catherine, Jenny & The Civility Partners Team

Do you know how much money chronically bad behavior costs your company? Spoiler alert – it’s a LOT higher than you want it to be. Download our data and worksheet to see how it’s costing your organization and what you can do to fix it.

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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