This year is a good time to review your overall safety program, especially if your accident and injury rates haven't dropped in recent years.
Overall, U.S. workplaces are safer. The number of accidents resulting in lost work hours dropped 40 per-cent between 1999 and 2002, according to a Conference Board study. Even injuries in the construction industry dropped.
More companies are implementing safety programs. Here are the most effective practices, in order, according to the Conference Board survey:
Operational integration. Definition: Introduce safety procedures into all operations and processes, not just "at risk" areas. Operational integration rates highest in the industrial goods and heavy industry sectors.
Case . Definition: Work closely with health care providers to track injuries and oversee a return to work as soon as possible. Ninety percent of managers use case management.
Motivational programs. Definition: Offer incentives to employees who suggest and implement safety procedures. Heavy industries and consumer goods manufacturers use motivational programs most.
Behavioral observation/feedback programs. Definition: Formal procedures that allow employees to critique and improve the safety behavior of each other.
Safety surveys. About 62 percent of employers use surveys to ask employees about ways to improve .
Final tip: Tie safety objectives to bonuses, merit increases and promotions. On the flip side, use discipline—including termination—for repeated safety violations.