Rewarding Safety With a Tangible Reminder

Staff | September 28, 2010

Custom keepsake coins have helped to raise awareness of safety among workers at TECO Peoples Gas — while lowering accidents and workers' compensation claims. The custom coins are given out selectively at meetings or training events. Employees may be asked to recite the core values or discuss a particular value — with a positive reply earning them a coin.

The coins, which are minted with the company's five core values (which include safety) are part of a program to reinforce the importance of thinking and acting safely at all times. The program has shown great success, as preventable accidents dropped by 30 percent and workers' compensation claims dropped by 75 percent. Due to the lower number of claims, insurance premiums have dropped, thus increasing profits.

One reason that the coins are having such a positive impact is that they are unique. Another reason is that they are often kept with pocket change. That way, when workers reach for their keys or for money to buy lunch, they see the coins and are reminded to act safely. This makes the safety program more tangible that one which relies on safety posters or other passive means of increasing awareness.

The coins were purchased from Cincinnati-based Osborne Coinage Co. for about $2 each and have paid for themselves several times over with lower insurance premiums, lower expenses from fewer accidents, less lost time due to accidents, and more.

TECO North Division Manager James Farriss recalls the first coin that he handed out. After a brave volunteer correctly recited the five core values, he was given a coin. "You'd have thought that I handed him a million dollars," recalls Farris. "I went out into the parking lot later that afternoon and saw him talking to some of our utility guys who were about to go out into the field. It was amazing how envious they were. He was actually training them — going over the core values in the parking lot."

The coins seem to be a good investment in raising safety awareness — paying dividends for both the employees of TECO Peoples Gas and the customers they serve.

Editor's note: This article was provided by Osborne Coinage Co.