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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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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27   As noted in Chapter 1, follow-up case examples were conducted to gather further details regard- ing processes and strategies for the effective use of safety incentive and disincentive programs to motivate employee safety behaviors. The case examples were conducted through interviews between the research team and selected DOTs. Based on their responses, the DOT’s survey respondent was contacted to participate in the case example. The semi-structured interviews followed the questions outlined in Appendix C but often drifted toward unique experiences with each state. The survey responses were used as selection criteria in determining the states for case example interviews. The questions and responses used included the following: • Does your DOT have a formal incentive/disincentive program for safety-related behaviors? ∼ Response: Yes • Does your organization have a defined process for selecting safety incentives? ∼ Response: Yes Other factors in case selection were including incentive/disincentive program documentation and agreeing to participate in the interview. The state selections were California, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Texas. It was also desirable to conduct a case example with a state that did not have a current incentive/disincentive program, but wished to establish such a program. The state selected for this case example was Tennessee. These case examples are presented in the sub- sequent sections. A summary of the case example findings is presented in Tables 4.1 and 4.2. California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) The California Department of Transportation, known as Caltrans, lists Safety First as the first of six goals in its 2020–2024 Strategic Plan (Caltrans 2021a). Caltrans manages over 50,000 miles of highway lanes, provides inter-city rail services, and has programs ranging from aeronautics to transportation planning. The Caltrans Safety First goal is broad in nature, encompassing pedestrian, driver, cyclist, and roadway safety, but it also provides a focus on eliminating “in the line of duty” fatalities and serious injuries to its employees. The goal also includes reduced employee injuries and illnesses (Caltrans 2021a). In 2020, Caltrans had 5,536 maintenance employees making up 28% of its organization (Caltrans 2021b). The department had zero worker fatalities between 2019 and May 2022, but its incident rate is over five (Caltrans 2021b). The following describes how Caltrans uses incentives and disincentives to motivate safer behaviors. Incentive and Disincentive Description In regard to disincentives, Caltrans has formal policies and procedures concerning disci- plinary actions for failure to perform work safely. This is part of its Injury and Illness Preven- tion program, but the implementation of this program has been difficult. Supervisors have felt uncomfortable enforcing disciplinary actions against staff they work with daily. As a result, C H A P T E R   4 Case Examples

28 Practices to Motivate Safe Behaviors with Highway Construction and Maintenance Crews California Mississippi Pennsylvania Texas Incentive and Disincentive Description 2 PTO (paid time off) hours per quarter. Previously a $100 savings bond. $500 award through Talent Management Leadership Academy for supervisors Picnic meals and Roadeo for safe actions, not speed. Safety Excellence Awards to crews, a meal is the primary award. Use hard-hat stickers “caught you doing good” Pre-disciplinary conference for fact-finding Individual, organization, maintenance group, work crew, and safety committee awards annually Disincentives are quick and easy; incentives are important and demand balance. Incentives are to pat the back. Verbal encouragement and paid performance level Annual safety banquet and meal in each district Implementation Approach The Office of Employee Safety oversees. Roadeo was a grassroots effort through the districts. Develop safety awards in coordination with safety officers. Criteria needed to be easy to manage and measure. Involves all levels of the DOT. Safety Culture Kickoff 2013 Incidents at no fault of the employee were not counted against them. Created software to track award earnings. Eventually integrated into their safety management system (SMS). Program Results Believe success is seen in the right mindset and approach to work. Anecdotal improvement in safety awareness and culture. Review safety reports and statistics. Met safety goals the last 3 years, but incentives are just a part of many initiatives. Decrease in lagging indicators. It should be about more than the absence of incidents and focus on participating in the safety program. Program Funding, Buy- in, and Training Collective bargaining challenges Encourage the heart through Maintenance Leadership Academy Non-governmental funds (i.e., conference registrations) Local drive of support, not leadership pushed Allocated from PennDOT’s general budget. Reminders that not production but safety is the goal. Safety Stand- downs Allocated from the general budget, have restrictions on per employee amounts ($100 per). More than just outcomes. Focus on participation. Limited options, keep it simple for implementation and tracking. Table 4.1. Case example summary of state DOTs with incentive/ disincentive programs.

Case Examples 29   Benefits and Challenges Promotes safety culture. Labor relation challenges High turnover impacts culture. Communication and district leadership support. Sense of pride, care, and competition in the program. Employees are less worried about reprimands and have seen an increase in suggestion reporting. Awards have been unchanged for a decade. Reinforces expected behaviors. Recognition is important and part of the overall formula. Lessons Learned Need a multi- division approach. Difficult to do it well alone. Start with a vision of what safety looks like and reward actions toward that. Buy-in and equity of the program were critical. Set a program focus, get support, and establish funding. California Mississippi Pennsylvania Texas Table 4.1. (Continued). Tennessee Motivation for a Safety Incentive Program Vision for Safety Incentive Program Benefits and Challenges Anticipated Learned behaviors being challenged. Assistance Needed Safety program launched 5 years ago and still working on buy- in. Do not feel quite ready for incentives but will eventually integrate. Will focus on proactive participation in behavior-based safety programs rather than the absence of incidents. Going through comprehensive reorganization of field staff and will look to include safety as a competency. Hope to improve employee buy-in. Focus on continuous improvement of safety. Challenges with logistics and program maintenance and unintended consequences. Coordinate with peers through NAATSHO. Learn about what is being tracked, how it’s being tracked, and what successes are realized. How to overcome costs, production-first mindset, employee retention, training, and incentive setting. Table 4.2. Case example summary of state DOTs without incentive/ disincentive programs. Caltrans provides a leadership academy for supervisors to train and assist them in providing the confidence needed to enforce these disciplinary actions. A more informal approach to disci- plinary action comes in the form of peer pressure. For example, unsafe behavior costs the crew their incentive. This is a result of Caltrans’ incentives provided, and the department prefers focusing safety on the positive. The Caltrans incentive programs include both formal and informal aspects. As a government agency, Caltrans has encountered difficulties in rewarding employees monetarily due to restric- tions placed on state funds (taxpayer dollars) and gift-giving limitations. Gifts or tokens of

30 Practices to Motivate Safe Behaviors with Highway Construction and Maintenance Crews recognition that seem worthwhile are difficult to find within the stipulated limitations. As part of the formal incentive, there is a department-wide allocation of two hours of paid time off every quarter for exhibiting safe behaviors and having no recordable injuries. This award used to be a $100 savings bond for no recordable injuries within a year, but it was determined that this did not meet state fund restrictions and was therefore replaced. Another element of Caltrans’s formal incentive program is a maintenance recognition pro- gram and employee recognition program. Within these programs, supervisors can submit a nomination for an employee exhibiting various positive behaviors, including safety, teamwork, innovation, and so forth. If awarded, the employee can get up to a $500 award (taxable) and a plaque. This program is well received and operated by Talent Management within Caltrans Administration and Human Resources. This group has been able to navigate funding restrictions and use sources that do not result in gifting public funds. At the informal level, Caltrans hosts recognition events involving a picnic-style meal and an equipment operation competition at the state level. These events tend to involve the friendly com- petition of maintenance employees in many aspects and may be held at the crew level, regional level, and state level to recognize the employees and their safe behaviors. For example, at the state level, the equipment competition, or “Roadeo,” is based on safe actions, not speed. All these recognition events have been affected by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Implementation Approach The formal incentive and disincentive programs were implemented by the Office of Employee Safety many years ago. These have evolved slightly, with the most significant change being the move from the savings bond (in the 1990s) to paid leave. These changes may involve labor rela- tions, Caltrans labor unions, and other divisions. In informal approaches, the “Roadeo” and recognition meals have been in place for over a decade. The “Roadeo” is a grassroots implementation with the districts’ cooperation, commit- ment, support, location, and other logistics. The recognition meals, or picnics, seem to be the most popular informal incentive. However, they can be difficult to plan due to busy work schedules, and they often become a loosely implemented strategy. Program Results As for the success of its programs, Caltrans does not look at the statistics to judge success. The department believes success is witnessed by seeing the right mindset and approach to the work. Reductions in incident rates are a primary measure, but seeing the safety culture improve is a better measure. For Caltrans, the existence of peer pressure to work safely is a key measure of success. Caltrans employees buying into and thinking about safety are success factors. Caltrans believes its programs have improved its safety culture and has cultivated leadership who lead by example and enforce safety protocols. Caltrans sees leading by example as an important factor in maintaining the safety culture. Program Funding, Buy-In, and Training Program funding has been a challenge for the incentive programs at Caltrans. These chal- lenges resulted in the change from providing savings bonds to paid leave and included other elements to navigate such as negotiating with labor unions. The paid leave is still a cost that must be budgeted within restrictions. The informal incentive programs are often funded in creative approaches such as through the proceeds of recycling aluminum cans collected in trash removal

Case Examples 31   from the roadways, surplus funds as appropriate, or donations collected from supervisors and leadership. Regarding meals, many food items are brought and shared by the employees. Beyond funding, buy-in and training are connected aspects of the incentive and disincentive programs at Caltrans. Supervisors are required to attend a Maintenance Leadership Academy focusing on “encouraging the heart.” Supervisors are taught to recognize and reward safe behaviors. At department-wide and division-wide levels, safety is communicated at every meeting. The directors and division chiefs are all expected to communicate and participate in safety. These approaches breed a top-down supported safety culture that achieves buy-in throughout the department. The Maintenance Leadership Academy is the first level of training to teach how to manage a safety program effectively. Often supervisors will participate in the Leadership Development Academy the following year. This first-level program focuses on disciplinary actions and enforcing a successful safety program. All new supervisors complete a 40-hour training on safety and personnel issues. Supervisors are required to have a safety meeting every 10 working days, and documentation of these meetings is reviewed. Supervisors are not required to attend OSHA training but have resources with such training in the district safety offices. If incidents occur, Caltrans uses these as a reminder to re-engage in the responsibility of a successful safety program. The department uses OSHA investigations, if any, to support learning and future training. Supervisors and managers are responsible for the safety of their employees, and they are required to do three field safety reviews weekly. Caltrans also audits safety records and encourages the chain of command if issues are noted. At Caltrans, these approaches are seen as learning and training opportunities. Benefits and Challenges Caltrans notes that the benefits of incentive and disincentive programs are in helping promote a good safety culture. The number of fatal injuries has been on a downward trend owing to this culture and the program efforts. Caltrans did lose an employee in 2021–2022. This fatality was the first in 5 years, and the safety culture has dramatically reduced these cases over the past several decades. Caltrans notes that a safe workforce is an efficient workforce; fewer injuries mean fewer interruptions. Developing a safety culture takes time. Caltrans notes that it took time for employees to believe that the department cared about their safety. This change evolved and is seen in employees asking about safety during academy training. Caltrans notes that buy-in can be a challenge, not only for employees but for unions too. The Division of Labor Relations and Human Resources has had to work closely with these unions to achieve their trust. Caltrans also notes that it would be beneficial if every supervisor had an allocation for recognizing safe behaviors in their crews. Caltrans sees funding as the primary challenge but notes that money is unnecessary to recognize safe behaviors effectively. Recogni- tion does not cost anything but a small amount of time. Caltrans encourages recognition of people who are noticed for their safe behaviors. Lessons Learned Caltrans notes that incentive and disincentive programs are a large undertaking and cannot be accomplished without enlisting the assistance of other divisions such as Administration, Labor Relations, Human Resources, and so forth. These divisions are likely more adept at navi- gating challenges not normally encountered by maintenance divisions, such as negotiating with

32 Practices to Motivate Safe Behaviors with Highway Construction and Maintenance Crews labor unions. Caltrans notes that what is important about these programs is that they support the safety culture. While funding can be a challenge in providing incentives, being creative can result in delivering recognition for safe behaviors. There are many meaningful ways to encourage and recognize safety. For disincentive programs, Caltrans notes the importance of training for supervisors regarding enforcing safe practices. A lot of communication and development goes into putting that training together. Caltrans notes that buy-in is important, and seeking ideas to support incentives is one way to build buy-in. Brainstorming to generate ideas can allow the boots-on-the-ground forces to participate in incentive development and build buy-in simultaneously. Caltrans has used this approach with employees and leadership to generate incentive ideas. Caltrans also notes that safety culture change does need leadership support. The initial safety culture shift started with executive leadership funding safety pilot projects and providing crews with improved PPE, jeans or work pants, shirts, hats, parkas/jackets, and so forth. Also noted is that the Caltrans safety culture was a gradual change, but it is seen through all levels and is pronounced. The change also seemed to filter through levels at Caltrans, starting with leadership and filtering down to supervisors and employees. The Caltrans safety culture is now widespread, and the incentive and disincentive programs are in place to support and encourage its continued improvement. Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) maintains over 29,000 highway lane miles and more than 5,800 bridges and structures (MDOT n.d.). In 2013, MDOT leadership sought to establish an occupational safety program and brought in part-time staff to initiate it. The program was launched in 2016 by hiring a full-time employee previously with the Safe Routes to School program in Mississippi. The following describes how this relatively new program uses incentives and disincentives to motivate safe behaviors. Incentive and Disincentive Description MDOT has a disincentive program using disciplinary actions and considerations for loss control, but its safety program focuses on encouraging safe behaviors by incentivizing employees. MDOT cannot provide monetary incentives or gifts to employees, so it has to be creative with incentives. The department developed Safety Excellence Awards that are awarded to crews and involve a plaque and meal as the primary award. Non-governmental funds from other sources are used to purchase these meals and award plaques. MDOT noted that 75% of its reported injuries were from maintenance divisions, so that is where it began its awards program. MDOT developed criteria for these awards in coordination with its safety officers. With the Office of Safety being relatively new and safety officers newly hired (the majority hired in 2016), the award criteria and program needed to be easy to manage and measure. The criteria were established to provide a comfort level for the safety officers conducting the evaluations. The first awards were made in 2019, and the crews acknowledged were promoted as model examples for the districts. The MDOT safety office approach was to acknowledge, encourage, and lift people up. The following year the construction division was added to the evaluation group. It was during this time that problems were noted in the award program. MDOT noted that one district was using safety meetings as its criteria for award evaluation. A particular crew won the award for holding 48 safety meetings in the first year and then won again the second year for holding 30 meetings. The crew had reduced the number of meetings held, so the award program did not

Case Examples 33   seem to encourage improvement. MDOT noted that safety excellence is not just about numbers, so the department needed better evaluation criteria that looked at execution, field visits, and improvements in behavior. MDOT discontinued its safety awards program until evaluation criteria could be improved. As the safety program evolves, the safety officers have more of a role and will be more hands-on in evaluations. The safety officers are required to get out into the field and meet the crews and project offices, visit work sites, inspect traffic control, and so forth. They have to be more hands-on; they cannot run their programs effectively from their offices. In the field is where weaknesses and safety issues like improper traffic control and lack of required PPE can be identified. These evaluations also let the safety officers know who deserves the safety excellence awards. Once MDOT safety officers have a better handle on the new criteria and know what to look for in the field, they will roll the program back out. MDOT also recently started a simple yet effective recognition approach using hard-hat stickers to recognize employees for safe behaviors or for cases of “caught you doing good” on an indi- vidual basis. This program involves stickers for employees and first responders as well. MDOT is also working on a military-style coin acknowledgment as a higher recognition from the sticker. These are new programs, but they are already well-liked and are generating awareness. Implementation Approach MDOT’s approach to implementing safety initiatives is intensive due to the new nature of the overall program. Any new initiative involves having the State Safety Coordinator make dis- trict visits and meet with operations staff to discuss the new measures or criteria. The State Safety Coordinator talks with staff about baseline expectations and answers questions about safety excellence. The goal is to achieve buy-in from all staff, including district engineers. This ensures that district leadership knows what is expected so they can support, push, and com- municate these expectations. As MDOT begins to roll out its new Safety Excellence Program, its staff hopes to see better candidates for safety excellence awards. Program Results MDOT’s criteria for the safety award program provides the baseline and vision of what it means to achieve safety excellence. These criteria could include reporting near misses regularly, appropriate job site setups, safety training, and so forth. As an example of an area of focus, MDOT sees many issues in flagging operations and traffic control setup. This will be an area of evaluation for the safety program, and the intent is to see improvements using the criteria. The safety office and awards program is still evolving, so results are limited, but anecdotally there is improvement in safety awareness and culture. Program Funding, Buy-In, and Training MDOT notes that funding can be challenging to support safety awards programs as gov- ernmental funds entail restrictions and limitations. Initially, MDOT was able to use funding from surplus conference registrations to fund its safety excellence award program. Then a former chief engineer no longer working for MDOT sponsored safety excellence awards the last year. The desire is that, eventually, MDOT can add gifts and categories for awards (e.g., for safety officers) stemming from these funds. The State Safety Coordinator and Chief Engineer are also seeking sponsorships, prizes, and donations for the safety program from other consul- tant firms with some success. MDOT notes that other recognition approaches can be low-cost. For instance, its print shop makes its safety hard-hat stickers in-house, and the MDOT annual maintenance meeting typically has leftover funds they hope to use for printing the coins.

34 Practices to Motivate Safe Behaviors with Highway Construction and Maintenance Crews In terms of safety buy-in, MDOT is appealing to employees’ common sense to promote safety: “Our employees’ lives are important.” MDOT has found that newer supervisors tend to be more accepting of the safety program and culture shift than those with more years of service. A shift in safety culture is difficult if supervisors view safety as more work than protecting their staff. To compensate, the State Safety Coordinator extensively addresses concerns, complaints, and needs. MDOT finds it can get further when leaders take the time to listen and understand com- plaints. The State Safety Coordinator is also trying to discourage district staff from pointing to the MDOT Central Office as the cause for new safety protocols and instead explaining how employee safety will benefit everyone. For buy-in, MDOT believes there is a need for a local drive of protocols with support at leadership levels, not simply a leadership-enforced requirement. In one approach to support protocols, MDOT created a mobile application that provides information on safety meetings, near misses, and so forth. MDOT also encourages safety officers to communicate that these protocols keep employees safe and provide avenues to communicate issues to management. Safety program training at MDOT involves individualized discussion of criteria and program features. MDOT involved two safety officers with field experience in criteria development for the Safety Excellence Awards, which gave the criteria a solid field perspective and effective definitions. In this way, MDOT believes this effort provided training and buy-in. Further, it provides a clear vision for what safety excellence looks like at MDOT and a clear understanding of what MDOT adjudicates each year. These safety officers can then discuss the program with field staff and others. Benefits and Challenges MDOT’s incentive and disincentive program challenges also relate to its safety program chal- lenges overall. Because of low pay rates set by the state personnel board, MDOT experiences high turnover. This impacts safety culture in supervisors not wanting to spend the time to train new employees they feel may soon leave. MDOT encourages supervisors to change this behavior to show new hires that they care, will train them, and care about their safety. The message is that this approach could encourage them to stay along with improving the safety culture. MDOT has also faced challenges getting district leadership to buy in and communicate the program effectively. MDOT is working with the safety officers to assist them in promoting the safety program in their districts, as everyone in the district needs to understand the program and be encouraged to participate. MDOT has found that safety program participation is a challenge but hopes that communication and education of the program will help build involvement. MDOT has been seeing evidence of such in more and more employees asking about elements of the program, such as how do you earn a hard-hat sticker. MDOT has also witnessed peer competition in vying for awards or tokens, such as the Safety Excellence Awards. Competition is not the intent of the program, but it does generate awareness, excitement, and improvement in safety. The word-of-mouth promotion of the safety awards also leads to questions about proper job site setups, clarity on safety issues, and so forth. The program creates a sense of pride and care, causing a shift in safety culture. Lessons Learned MDOT notes that it is still learning lessons as a newer program but believes it has learned a lot in these few years. MDOT suggests starting with a vision of what safety looks like for your organization and rewarding what you envision is a safe DOT. Rewards built on simple criteria or minimal benchmarks, such as the number of safety meetings, do not change the safety culture. Safe actions and safe behavior deserve award recognition, and to award such, especially if it can be recognized in the field, is where safety culture will improve.

Case Examples 35   MDOT notes that developing safety award program criteria takes time to achieve your desired results. MDOT also believes it is important that criteria not be based on injuries because DOT employees work in high-hazard environments with circumstances sometimes out of their con- trol. While incidents can provide opportunities to improve safety, encouraging safe behaviors promotes an improved safety culture over the punishment of unsafe behavior. Criteria that could lead to hiding issues or incidents must be discouraged. MDOT believes this message is important, as is communicating the goal of the safety program and its objectives. A final lesson learned from MDOT is that leadership support and buy-in are important. Leader- ship sets the example so their buy-in and participation breeds enthusiasm and support for employee participation in the safety program. Enthusiasm, excitement, and competition can provide excellent encouragement for participating in safety programs and a safer DOT. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is responsible for nearly 40,000 highway lane miles and roughly 25,400 bridges. PennDOT has nearly 11,375 employees, of whom approximately 7,200 engage in state highway system maintenance operations. PennDOT’s Manual for Employee Safety and Health [PUB-445M (8-21)] details elements of its safety pro- gram, including its incentive and disincentive elements. The safety program began with a Safety Culture Kickoff in 2012, with the goal of motivating employees to exercise more caution. The following describes how PennDOT uses incentives and disincentives to motivate safe behaviors. Incentive and Disincentive Description PennDOT’s incentive (recognition) and disincentive program elements are described in Chapter L of its Manual for Employee Safety and Health (MESH). After an uptick in inci- dents, a disincentive program was established in coordination with the labor union. Within the disincentive program, major and minor work rule violations and safety violations were established due to the incidents. Discipline is imposed for these violations, from informal counseling to suspension and/or termination, depending on the infraction, severity, and fre- quency. A meeting is held with each employee involved individually as part of an investigation process and fact-finding approach. The goal is to fully understand the incident, learn from it, and implement new procedures if needed. The program does consist of both incentive and disincentive aspects. PennDOT’s incentive, or recognition, program includes individual awards, organization awards, maintenance organization awards, work crew awards, and safety committee/safety work group awards. These awards are calculated yearly and based on the fiscal year. One concern of the recognition program has been the reluctance to report incidents. To circumvent these issues, PennDOT excludes no-fault fleet or equipment incidents, so they do not count against the possibility of recognition. The criteria for incentive awards include several categories of periods without injury or incident. These awards are not cash bonuses but items that can be selected within the given price ranges noted in Table 4.3. The items selected may be safety-related items or PennDOT-specific items. There are also organization awards for a particular district or county that meets its safety goals. These are based on a year, and the award can include various items, as noted in Table 4.4. Another award category is Maintenance Organization Awards, as seen in Table 4.5. These are based on county maintenance organizations and include two subcategories: OSHA recordable incidents and fleet incidents. If organizations meet their goals in one of the subcategories, the crew award is $2,500 in tools or equipment. If the goal is met in both categories, the crew

36 Practices to Motivate Safe Behaviors with Highway Construction and Maintenance Crews award is $5,000 in tools or equipment. e organization must also have no fatalities. An addi- tional tier in Maintenance Organizational Awards is a $50,000 award in tools or equipment for 1,000 days without a disabling injury in addition to meeting the other goals. e nal awards categories are semi-annual Work Crew Awards for crews assigned to Assis- tant County Managers and annual Safety Committee/Safety Work Group Awards for working groups with projects to improve PennDOT safety. ese award levels are similar to the levels in Table 4.4. Along with the awards, certicates are presented during Safety Stand-down Day by district or county leadership. Maintenance Organization awards are usually announced on a more local basis. ese award approaches were developed to provide incentives but avoid the restric- tion of cash bonuses by state funds. ese levels have remained unchanged since the program’s inception (Safety Culture Kicko) in 2012. Only permanent maintenance, construction, survey, and bridge inspecting personnel assigned to continuous eld duty are eligible for the individual employee award. Table 4.3. PennDOT individual award limits (MESH Chapter L). Table 4.4. PennDOT organization award limits (MESH Chapter L). Table 4.5. PennDOT maintenance organization award limits (MESH Chapter L).

Case Examples 37   Implementation Approach PennDOT’s incentive and disincentive program implementation was included in its Safety Culture Kickoff. PennDOT’s leadership drove this safety culture evolution to bring safety to the “front of mind.” This rollout intended to get all employees to understand that safety was everyone’s responsibility. PennDOT wanted employees to know they needed to speak up for safety if they saw something. The incentives were to promote safe behaviors for anticipated results of fewer injuries and accidents, making employees eligible for awards and recognition. There have been relatively few changes to the program, except a recent change to waive fleet and equipment accidents that were through no fault of the employee. For example, if someone is involved in an accident in which they were rear-ended, that is not counted against the employee for awards qualification. This was changed based on requests and is fairer for the employees. Prior to this change, employees could be penalized based on incidents outside their control. Regarding injuries, PennDOT classifies an injury as anything requiring more than first aid. PennDOT is not currently governed by OSHA, but it uses OSHA definitions for categorization. Program Results While it is difficult to determine if safety improvements were specific to the recognition program. PennDOT prepares a safety report each fiscal year based on incidents or injuries. These are used to determine the recognition awards. PennDOT also reviews these reports and incident or injury statistics to compare data with the prior year and determine if reduction goals were met. Additionally, PennDOT reviews the number of employees achieving each level of recog- nition award from one year to the next. This review is not a true measurement due to turnover, retirements, promotions, and so forth. However, reviewing incidents, awards, and reductions or increases yearly provides information on whether improvement is realized. PennDOT has met safety goals for the previous two years and 2022. The recognition pro- gram is part of that success, but the improvement involves an accumulation of many safety program elements (e.g., safety training, safety talks, near-miss reporting). Program Funding, Buy-In, and Training The Recognition Award funding is provided and allocated through PennDOT’s budget. The funding for the recognition program is supported by PennDOT leadership. Buy-in at PennDOT is a function of a consistent safety message department-wide. Safety culture, near misses, incidents, and safety goals are tracked and brought up at executive, division, district, county, and safety committee meetings, so it is always fresh in the minds of PennDOT employees. The message is that safety is everyone’s responsibility, which is emphasized as part of the PennDOT Safety Stand-down Days. The most difficult aspect of achieving buy-in is reminding supervisors that production is not the priority, and safety is the utmost objective. PennDOT does not strictly focus on numbers and production but focuses more on the safety message of all employees. This is a common safety culture problem, but this has improved. PennDOT also provides training to support the safety culture. The Supervisory Skills training includes a safety portion to focus on safe behaviors. Other trainings encourage employees to speak up if they see something as unsafe so it can be evaluated, discussed, and changed if necessary. PennDOT also has near-miss training on the importance of reporting these events for evaluation and awareness. Case studies are also presented at trainings from near-miss inci- dents. Near-miss training is also part of Safety Stand-down Days and new employee orienta- tion. There is no official training for the Recognition Award program as the PennDOT Central Office, Employee Safety Division, and the District Safety Coordinators manage it. PennDOT

38 Practices to Motivate Safe Behaviors with Highway Construction and Maintenance Crews does require all safety committee members to go through labor and industry-based training for safety committees. PennDOT provides different trainings throughout the year, including safety culture training, near-miss reporting training, incident analysis training, and so forth. PennDOT Central Office also sets goals for the safety program. Based on miles managed, the number of hours driven, and so forth, goals are set accordingly to create equity across districts. The goals are also based on the previous year’s performance. Benefits and Challenges PennDOT notes that its overall safety program has improved its safety culture. The culture also supports pointing out safety issues, so employees do not try to hide safety issues; instead, they speak up and discuss a resolution. A challenge for PennDOT has been maintaining posi- tive morale and energy regarding the recognition program. Listening to feedback and no longer considering not-at-fault accidents have helped improve morale about the program. Another PennDOT challenge is in getting more near misses reported. There had been resis- tance to reporting near misses because in the past, disciplinary action could result from noted safety violations. PennDOT evaluates each incident on a case-by-case basis. Incident events are discussed in fact-finding conferences and involve employees in a discussion of the incident. This has helped with morale, buy-in, and the reporting of minor incidents or near misses. The incident review is a learning opportunity. The relaxing of disincentives for no-fault fleet or equipment incidents has helped PennDOT focus on more near-miss reporting. This also has led to a significant increase in near misses reported for analysis and awareness. A final challenge noted by PennDOT is that the awards levels have been unchanged since 2012. Additionally, PennDOT Central Office used to pick out awards that were issued in the Recognition Program. They have moved to allowing counties and districts to choose their award selection and may visit updating award levels. Lessons Learned PennDOT noted that the success of the incentive or disincentive program is largely related to buy-in and the perception that the program is equitable. Receiving and responding to feedback is a good approach to achieving buy-in. An emphasis on learning and counseling while relaxing on no-fault fleet and equipment incidents also improves buy-in and morale about the program. PennDOT also notes that starting an awards program can be difficult for some. Having a budget for awards and support from executive leadership, and being flexible with the program are important to its success. The program will likely need to evolve as you collect feedback about it. The employees will generate feedback on the types of awards and various aspects of the pro- gram. Using their feedback supports buy-in. Incorporating management and staff in program decisions causes employee ownership of the program. Another lesson PennDOT learned through implementing its program is that incidents and injuries deserve a case-by-case review. Without fully understanding incident circumstances, assumptions may lead to unjust disciplinary actions or a safety violation. The role of the program is to incentivize safety foremost. Use incidents as learning opportunities. If, in the end, disci- plinary action may be necessary, that may occur after the facts are determined. Finally, PennDOT notes that there is more to safety than just an employee acting safely. Employees need to see that safety is a priority at the highest levels of the organization. When safety is the predominant message of executive leadership, it becomes a forefront value of the organization and its employees.

Case Examples 39   Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is responsible for 80,000 miles of roadway and 36,000 state-system bridges (TxDOT 2019). Its $14 billion (2020 budgetary figure) operating budget serves these facilities and supports aviation, rail, and public transportation across the state. TxDOT is driven by its 12,000 employees working to provide a safe and reliable trans- portation system for Texas (TxDOT n.d.). Incentive and Disincentive Description TxDOT notes that most agencies are quick to jump to a disincentive program, but it suggests a balanced approach to have incentives as well. TxDOT has a disciplinary action process in which policy requires a root cause analysis investigation after every incident and injury. TxDOT uses this investigation to assess the action or inaction of the people involved, such as whether PPE was appropriately used or whether there was a shortcut that led to the incident. The disciplinary action entails a three-part process. First, employees submit a written account of the incident. Peers who perform similar operations review the incident to assess possible prevention measures or approaches. Next, the employee’s supervisor determines whether the incident was preventable. There is an avenue for the supervisor to discipline the employee for not following policy. If an employee is involved in three preventable incidents within three years, they are automatically termi- nated. The first preventable incident results in coaching, and the second results in disciplinary action and probation. There are also circumstances where if an action is egregious, termination can result. TxDOT notes that most agencies have accountability procedures like these but must balance them where policies become too negative. TxDOT notes that about 1% of employees have had an incident, so focusing on rewarding and recognizing compliance and safety is important. TxDOT’s goal of its incentive program is to “pat the back” of the 99% of employees who are not involved in incidents because they adhere to the policies. TxDOT encourages supervisors, leadership, and safety staff who visit job sites to “catch people doing things right” and pat them on the back. While verbal encouragement is meaningful, TxDOT also provides incentives in paid per- formance leave. Employees who drive consistently and have no accidents get 1 day of leave per year. Employees who work in the field without an incident receive a half-day of leave per year. Office staff also receive a half-day of leave per year without incidents. These are incentives that do not incur significant costs or additional resources. Since the 1990s, TxDOT has had legislatively appropriated investments of up to $100 per employee per year for safety awards. This funding can be used to host an annual safety banquet in each district and provide a meal. The funding for the banquets is controlled so it can also be used to procure award items. Employees in field positions qualify for awards such as hats, PPE, and other apparel. These awards are provided according to milestones, where a hat is provided for each year injury-free, jackets and windbreakers at 5 years injury-free, and a coat at 20 years injury free. These items, when bought in bulk, can be low-cost. For example, TxDOT hats are estimated at $5 each. The banquet is also an opportunity for leadership to address the entire district and provide a “state of the district” discussion. Implementation Approach The TxDOT incentive and disincentive programs have been in place for a significant amount of time; however, modifications have been needed. TxDOT also created its own software to track accomplishments and milestones to make sure awards are distributed properly. TxDOT’s policy

40 Practices to Motivate Safe Behaviors with Highway Construction and Maintenance Crews clearly defines how awards are earned. The program would not be manageable without a defined policy and tracking system. TxDOT is currently updating its software to improve the ease of tracking. TxDOT uses Origami Risk to track claims, workers’ compensation, automobile liability claims, and field inspections, but the department has not implemented the awards component of this system to date. This is an item that TxDOT is considering once the system provides the capabilities to match TxDOT’s needs. Program Results Because TxDOT is self-funded for workers’ compensation and automobile liability, controlling its risk management can directly affect costs through investments in safety. Paying claims is inefficient, and TxDOT notes being able to put more money into pavements and the transportation system by being safer. The incentive to be safe and invest in safety is an easy and financially driven choice for TxDOT. In a review of incident rates for over 12,000 employees, TxDOT has seen a drop in the incident rate from above two to 1.2 in the past 5 years. This is inclusive of TxDOT classifying injuries more conservatively than OSHA. Regarding road collisions, TxDOT has less than two pre- ventable collisions per million miles driven. While these are good numbers, TxDOT notes it is important that incentives and disincentive programs not be about the absence of injuries or collisions. These are measurable components of the system, but the focus is on participation. To qualify for TxDOT incentives, employees must participate in the safety program (e.g., stretch and flex, trainings). This was a change in the TxDOT program as the department had to strengthen policies to make the program more about participation and not results. Otherwise, as TxDOT notes, underreporting could occur. There are also opportunities for people to proactively participate in safety, such as hosting a safety meeting, volunteering for safety meetings, and so forth. As a final note on the success of the overall program, Texas public road fatalities have increased, but the collision rate of TxDOT has decreased over the same window of time. Program Funding, Buy-In, and Training TxDOT’s incentive program is funded from its general budget, not individual business units. The Texas legislature approved a budget line for safety incentives; this is not extra funding but the ability to set aside an amount from the overall budget. The $100 limit per employee is restrictive, but TxDOT has been able to balance these funds without an increase and without a significant reduction in the perceived value of the awards. TxDOT notes it can budget from previous years because not every employee will get an award, but many will get the meal. TxDOT has a verification process for individuals qualifying for the awards. Qualification also entails more than just a count of injuries. For instance, if someone has to be coached fre- quently to wear their PPE but has no injuries, they are not participating in the safety program, and supervisors can determine they do not qualify for the award. TxDOT safety officers are responsible for administering the incentive program. Awards are sourced through distribution centers and are requested from the warehouse systems. TxDOT previously investigated optional rewards and platforms requiring training to access the system, designing and selecting awards, and so forth. TxDOT uses a simple approach with limited awards with a small number of options using a form. Therefore, no significant training is required for supervisors to implement the program. The safety officers have minor training on using the safety tracking system and administering the program.

Case Examples 41   Benefits and Challenges TxDOT notes that recognition is a great way to reinforce expected behavior. An incentive program reinforces expected behaviors. If the focus is on disciplinary actions, TxDOT notes the department would miss the opportunity to provide positive feedback to 99% of its employees. The incentive program allows an opportunity to provide positive feedback to employees, and that supports buy-in for the overall safety program. TxDOT acknowledges that employees are not being safe to earn a hat and a meal but notes that the recognition of performance is meaningful to the employee. TxDOT notes that its employees are exposed to high hazards. Prior to the Safety Zero initiative in 2011, TxDOT saw one employee fatality per year. Despite employee hazard exposure, TxDOT has not had an employee fatality in 4 years. Incentives are not the only factor contributing to improved safety, but they are part of the formula that helps promote TxDOT employees being safe, which is a benefit. A noted challenge for TxDOT is that some believe incentives promote nonreporting. OSHA does not promote incentives tied to safety because they are often based on reaching goals. TxDOT focuses on participation in the safety program and not the absence of incidents. Additionally, TxDOT feels it is unlikely that employees would pay out-of-pocket medical expenses to earn a hat. Nonetheless, TxDOT has had to combat comments that its incident rates only look good because the department gives incentives. TxDOT does not believe the economics of a meal add up to not reporting an injury. This is an ever-present challenge to incentive programs, and TxDOT notes the need to be prepared to defend such a program as it may not be popular with some. Lessons Learned TxDOT’s lessons learned regarding incentive and disincentive programs include setting a pro- gram focus, getting support, and establishing funding. TxDOT notes that the program could be about participation and not just the absence of claims, especially if a state is just beginning. Addi- tionally, TxDOT notes that having support from executive leadership is important as leaders will likely have provided a path for funding. Funding is not easy to find in tight budgets, and TxDOT sees these programs as an investment that will provide a return over time. TxDOT does indicate that results may not be realized instantly. There is a need to be patient and stay the course. Buy-in, engagement, and culture change are long-lead results. In a final point, TxDOT notes it is important to have more than a disciplinary approach. Incentives encourage the employee and create a sense of belonging and feeling valued beyond simply encouraging safe behavior. Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is a multimodal agency responsible for aviation, public transit, waterways, railroads, cycling, and walking. With over 4,000 employees, the agency serves a state ranked as “having one of the top five highway systems in the country by a national trade magazine” (TDOT n.d.). TDOT is responsible for managing a transportation system in four regions, 12 districts, and 95 counties, and the agency implemented a $10 million budget in 2020. TDOT does not currently have an implemented incentive or disincentive safety program, but it plans to deploy one. This case example intends to detail the vision, perceptions, and needs of a state preparing to implement such a program. Motivation for an Incentive and Disincentive Program TDOT began its safety program approximately 5 years ago, and it continues to build buy-in for the program it is building. Buy-in is inconsistent at TDOT, and some groups still need encouragement and support to buy into the program TDOT is implementing and building.

42 Practices to Motivate Safe Behaviors with Highway Construction and Maintenance Crews TDOT’s goal is to have a formal incentive program once its overall safety program is more established. The objective is to build a culture of safety by adding measures for compliance. TDOT notes that you can implement all the rules and programs you like, but that does not stop injuries until you have a safety culture. TDOT’s motivation for an incentive program is as a component of a larger overall safety program. TDOT has made some advances that may be sustainable, but the department feels it is not ready for incentives. The COVID-19 pandemic slowed the process, and TDOT is hopeful efforts like this synthesis will assist its implementation. Vision for the Incentive and Disincentive Program TDOT does not envision implementing an incentive system focused on the absence of inci- dents and injuries, such that it would involve OSHA limitations. TDOT’s anticipated focus will be on proactive participation in activities such as completing appropriate training, par- ticipating in behavior-based safety programs, and so forth. TDOT does use disciplinary action when necessary, but it is not a first step. This disincentive approach is in place and will remain, but it is the incentive approach the department plans to add. In lieu of disciplinary action, which it would implement via Human Resources, it would rather do coaching and training for improved safety behavior. As part of a comprehensive reorganization of field staff, TDOT determines what com- petencies are expected by varying levels of staff. Safety will be a competency for these posi- tions. For example, as an entry-level operations technician, the employee will be required to take a basic work zone safety training. To be promoted to crew superintendent, one of the competencies would include voluntarily participating in a crew supervisor work zone safety training. This reorganization not only develops career paths but promotes safety through required competencies. Benefits and Challenges Anticipated TDOT anticipates that an incentive program will help build employee buy-in at all levels. The anticipated benefit is building the buy-in that safety is valuable at work and home. From this buy-in, TDOT expects to move into a mindset of continuous improvement for safety. TDOT also anticipates that the emphasis on safety will support employee retention and recruiting, which has been a problem. TDOT believes employees want to work in a safe place where they feel their management cares about and values them. TDOT believes the incentive program will face organizational challenges in incentivizing the right activities, what makes sense, and what will be valuable to advancing the safety program. TDOT expects challenges in developing program logistics and maintenance and the ability to track those activities properly. TDOT has 4,000 employees spread across four regions and headquarters, and thus the logistics can be difficult to work through. Regarding financial incentives, TDOT is against monetarily motivating safety. The belief is that within a true safety culture, employees will be safe because they care and not because they want more money. TDOT believes incentives can have unintended consequences, and it plans to emphasize safety training as an additional competency to earn a promotion in order to encourage participation. TDOT also plans to put money into safety that is not direct com- pensation but does benefit the employee, such as enhanced PPE, footwear, high-visibility clothing, moisture-wicking clothes, and so forth, with some items on an annual basis and others on a longer-term basis. These incentives have already begun and are a significant component of the TDOT safety culture. When this aspect of the enhanced PPE is announced and implemented, the field staff notices, and there is a change in safety perception.

Case Examples 43   TDOT has been able to pursue these safety program advancements due to the support it receives from leadership. Within 6 years, TDOT has rotated through three commissioners. During the term of the first of those three commissioners, TDOT had three employee fatalities. Those fatalities led to significant investment into safety at TDOT, and since then the incident rate has improved from 6.8 to three. This would not be possible without full support at the executive level of the department. TDOT realizes that active, executive-level support in visibility and funding is imperative to the success of a safety program. In terms of personnel challenges, TDOT acknowledges it is a huge organization, and imple- menting an organization-wide program will be challenging. Further, TDOT has existed for over 100 years, but the safety program has only existed for 5 years. Many ingrained behaviors will need to be overcome. Specifically, TDOT sees the “get the job done” mindset as a challenge to overcome for safety. Overcoming the willingness of TDOT employees to put the job before themselves will be a challenge. Assistance Needed In terms of program implementation, TDOT hopes to coordinate with peers through NAATSHO to see what other state DOTs are doing. TDOT wants to know what is being tracked, how it is being tracked, and what success it is seeing. TDOT also wanted to understand the logistics other states are employing. TDOT sees value in relying on state DOT counterparts so as to not “re-invent the wheel.” TDOT would also like to understand how other state DOTs are overcoming challenges in costs, the job-first mindset, employee retention, training, and setting incentives. TDOT also would like to know what support other state DOTs are being provided by their leadership and their legislature in terms of funding and message.

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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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