Safety Incentives in Action

A mining company's program helped it achieve the safest year in its history and save as much as $5 million.

In the mining industry, the average cost of a lost-time accident (LTA) is approximately $50,000. To raise awareness of good safety practices on and off the job, mining company Massey Energy developed an incentive program that would motivate its predominately male workforce of coal miners, supervisors, and mine safety directors to improve individual, team, and mine safety performance.

Football was a theme that had broad appeal for this target audience. With the goal of improving team performance, it was logical to create the “Raymond Safety Bowl,” which was named after a former employee, Raymond Bradbury, who was legendary for his concern for safe work habits.

Each eligible employee was appointed to a designated football team within his location. The teams competed monthly within their location and with other locations for the best safety performance records. Each month, points were awarded based on a three-tiered accrual system. One-third of the points were based on each individual team member working the month without a lost-time accident or a disqualifying absence. Another third of the points were based on the member’s team working the month without an LTA, and the final third of the points were awarded based on the member’s mine site working the month without an LTA.

Participants received quarterly updates on their program points via U.S. mail and also were able to access these updates via the company’s Web site. Points were redeemable from the Raymond Safety Bowl Catalog, as well as online. Participants who did not have a disqualifying absence and whose team had no lost-time accidents were eligible for a quarterly prize drawing. A grand prize drawing was also held for participants who worked the entire year without a disqualifying absence or lost-time accident.

Available in print and online, the award catalog included a variety of outdoor hunting, fishing, and camping items; electronic products; luggage; and home accessories, including appliances and lawn equipment. These well-chosen incentives were critical to the success of this program.

The program was branded with a “Raymond Safety Bowl” logo and a caricature of Raymond that appeared on the catalog, the Web site, and a series of safety banners displayed at each mine location. Banners promoted the program and carried themed safety messages, such as “Don’t be penalized by a back injury -- Stretch for Safety!” Throughout the year, participants also received branded caps, footballs, hardhat decals, T-shirts, etc. to keep the program fresh.

As a result of the “Raymond Safety Bowl,” Massey Energy -- a company founded in 1916 -- experienced its safest year in the company’s history. Absenteeism decreased, favorably impacting productivity and profitability. Losttime accidents were reduced by 47 percent over the previous year. Based on this recordbreaking safety performance and industry averages, Massey Energy experienced an estimated cost reduction of up to $5 million for lost-time accidents.

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