Many employers are in the dark over whether their safety incentive programs encourage or discourage the reporting of injuries and illnesses by their employees, or if they have no effect.
But a new report says employers, and the federal officials who oversee workplace safety, should care what effects the incentives are having.
In March 2005, 15 workers died and 180 others were injured in an explosion at the BP Texas City refinery. A safety incentive program at the refinery rewarded workers with bonuses for achieving low rates of injuries and illnesses. A 2007 study after the explosion found that workers feared reprisals for reporting potentially risky conditions at the refinery.