Course 700 - Introduction to Safety Management

Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier

Reactive and Proactive Safety Programs


In safety and health, a reactive response occurs after an injury or illness and usually has the purpose of minimizing the costs associated with the injury or illness. When management emphasizes a reactive approach to safety and health, it sends a negative message to employees. Reactive programs always cost much more than proactive programs...always...because an injury or illness has occurred. Reactive programs kick in only after an accident has occurred. Some examples of reactive safety programs include:

  • Accident investigation to fix the blame, not the system.
  • Early return to work/light duty programs.
  • Incentive programs that reward not reporting..."Work six months without an accident."
  • Accountability systems that tie discipline to accidents

On the other hand, a proactive response to safety and health in the workplace takes place before an accident has occurred. It anticipates and tries to prevent accidents. By emphasizing accident prevention, management sends a message of caring. This approach is always less expensive in the long-term as a result of fewer accidents and injuries. some examples of proactive safety and health programs include:

  • Accident analysis to fix the system, not the blame.
  • Safety committees and/or safety teams
  • Hazard analysis programs.
  • Inspection and Job hazard analysis programs.
  • Incentive/Recognition programs that recognize complying, reporting, suggesting, involvement.
  • Safety education and training: must not be viewed as punishment.
  • Accountability systems that do not tie discipline to accidents.