Investing in people through a Safety Incentive Program

Safety initiatives within any industry are shaped by the values of a company, its people and the nature of its work. They also shift and adapt to the changing needs of the time. For Olympic Companies, safety and building a work ethic around it has been integral to the success of their people and projects.

 It's been over a decade since Olympic Companies SD revised their Safety Incentive Program. "We used to reward people for hours worked without injury. But we realized it wasn't achieving what we wanted it to," explains Todd Tilberg, Safety Director and Field Superintendent for Olympic Companies SD. They noticed that if a crew member working in an unsafe manner caused an injury to another, the injured would lose all their safety hours and not the other crew member. When someone injured themselves, they were less likely to report or seek assistance because they didn't want to lose their safety hours. 
This brought about the Olympic Companies Safety Incentive Program for the South Dakota crew. It's a points-based program that rewards an employee for being a good, dependable crew member who follows company safety policies and it's not solely tied to time worked without injury anymore. From the first day of employment, Olympic crew members begin earning points for showing up to work on time, following safety guidelines, attending safety training courses, and learning more and growing their skills. When asked why a program like this is essential to the company, Tilberg said it's a way to invest in the crew. "When we invest time into people, and they invest time into the company, we want to keep them safe, working and supporting their families." This program has helped the crew to regularly talk about safety while also addressing injuries on job sites as they occur. 

Points are also awarded through participation in weekly Toolbox Talks and serving on the Safety Committee. Toolbox Talk is a weekly newsletter sent out on Mondays that addresses safety concerns related to the environment, weather, current events, or other important safety issues. There's also a safety quiz related to this every week with point rewards and an additional $20 cash for knowing the topic and answering the bonus question correctly. Then, when the safety quiz is answered correctly for 15 consecutive weeks, they earn a free Safety Lunch for the whole company. 

The safety points received through this program can be redeemed for work-related clothing, footwear, or tools through Olympic suppliers. Crew members have often saved up points to redeem them for winter gear like Carhartt jackets, coveralls or work boots. Points are deducted for safety violations, being late to work, and not calling in when you cannot be at work.

Olympic Companies SD also has a safety committee that ensures that crew members are active participants in shaping the safety guidelines and initiatives. The committee meets every two months, with visits from the Safety Director from the Olympic Companies Corporate Office. "We have three field members on the committee, and they rotate. Every third meeting, we rotate someone else, so we get feedback from all levels of our field crew from apprentice to foreman, and different trades from carpenters, plasterers, to tapers," said Tilberg.

Olympic Companies SD has been intentional in recognizing the time and work their crew puts in daily. The Safety Incentive Program may not be about time without injury anymore. Still, it's doing exactly what Olympic intended—it has helped prevent injuries, build safer work environments, and encouraged dependability and timeliness within the whole company.


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Business Info

Minnetonka, MN 55305
(952) 546-8166
(952) 544-8869 (fax)


President - Michael Conroy
Chief Operating Officer - Patrick Forliti
Chief Financial Officer - Dustin Prager
- Mary Jo Lecy
Safety Director - Mike Sturgeleski

Our Locations

Minneapolis, MN
Tel: (952) 546-8166
Fargo, ND
Tel: (701) 365-0098
Sioux Falls, SD
Tel: (605) 332-4420
Milwaukee, WI
Tel: (262) 787-7006