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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Research Council. 2023. Practices to Motivate Safe Behaviors with Highway Construction and Maintenance Crews. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27176.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Research Council. 2023. Practices to Motivate Safe Behaviors with Highway Construction and Maintenance Crews. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27176.
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1   Highway construction and maintenance operations present unique hazards to state Depart- ment of Transportation (DOT) employees. This has historically resulted in high incident rates, and state DOTs have emphasized safe behaviors through various components of safety pro- grams. In comparable private sectors, incentive and disincentive programs have effectively promoted safe behaviors. However, state DOTs have unique limitations and restrictions on their ability to financially incentivize safe actions or, in some cases, implement correc- tive actions to disincentivize unsafe actions. While navigating these restrictions is difficult, some DOTs have implemented unique approaches in order to institute incentives, including mone tary awards, certificates, personal protective equipment, meals, and more. This NCHRP synthesis project captures the state of the practice regarding safety incen- tive and disincentive programs to motivate safe behaviors within DOTs across the United States. An electronic survey was created and distributed to members of the North American Association of Transportation Safety and Health Officials (NAATSHO). The survey was sent to 50 state DOTs. There were 40 total responses resulting in an 80% response rate. This led to subsequent case example interviews with five states (California, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas) to gather additional details. The key findings of these efforts are summarized later with additional details provided in the following chapters. When specific numbers are referenced, the findings do not include the non-responsive states. • About one-third of responding DOTs (33%) reported having a formal safety incentive or disincentive program (Figure 3.2). Those agencies often looked at incentivizing participa- tion in the safety program rather than at safety-related outcomes (Tables 3.2 and 3.3). The PennDOT case example provides a detailed and documented formal safety incentive and disincentive program. • California and Texas noted formalized disincentive and disciplinary action programs, but both noted a preferred focus on incentives to promote safe behaviors. • There were more DOTs (45%) with an informal safety incentive or disincentive program (Figure 3.3). However, less than half of surveyed DOTs have either a formal or informal safety incentive or disincentive program. • DOTs have a variety of incentives and disincentives that have been utilized to motivate safe behaviors (Table 3.6). The anecdotal results indicate that incentives motivate safe behav- iors, but states did not note formal evaluations of programs beyond analyzing perfor- mance metrics (i.e., lagging safety indicators). • Other important elements for successful incentive and disincentive programs cited within the synthesis include employee engagement in the development and revision of the program, access to funding or a dedicated budget to support incentives incurring costs, and executive leadership and support of the program and safety as a central objective of the DOT. S U M M A R Y Practices to Motivate Safe Behaviors with Highway Construction and Maintenance Crews

2 Practices to Motivate Safe Behaviors with Highway Construction and Maintenance Crews This synthesis also identified areas for future research, including: • A need for improved understanding of the benefits and success measures associated with the use of safety incentive and disincentive programs, and • A need to understand funding mechanisms used by DOTs to support safety incentive programs and associated restrictions or limitations. The previous findings and needs present a brief summary of the overall results of this syn- thesis. Additional details are included in the following chapters. Chapter 1 of this report pro- vides an introduction and background to safety incentives and disincentives to motivate safe behaviors for highway construction and maintenance crews and the methodology used in the study. A literature review on safety incentive programs used to improve safety perfor- mance is discussed in Chapter 2. The results of the national survey are presented in Chap- ter 3. Specific case example interviews are detailed in Chapter 4. A summary of the study’s findings is outlined in Chapter 5 with references and appendices following.

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In comparable private sectors, incentive and disincentive programs have effectively promoted safe behaviors by employees. However, state departments of transportation (DOTs) have unique limitations and restrictions on their ability to financially incentivize safe actions by highway construction and maintenance crews or, in some cases, implement corrective actions to disincentivize unsafe actions. While navigating these restrictions is difficult, some DOTs have implemented unique approaches in order to institute incentives, including monetary awards, certificates, personal protective equipment, meals, and more.

NCHRP Synthesis 608: Practices to Motivate Safe Behaviors with Highway Construction and Maintenance Crews, from TRB's National Cooperative Highway Research Program, documents state DOTs practices regarding safety incentive and disincentive programs for highway construction and maintenance crews.

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