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Michael Fears

Michael Fears

Session Synopsis: Improving Safety by (sort of) Eliminating Safety Rewards

Safety rewards programs don't seem to have the impact that people expect. Sometimes they seem to treat safety as a game rather than a "core value", sometimes they cause unintended problems, such as non-reporting of incidents. Clear causation between safety rewards and improved safety is not well established. This presentation presents evidence for setting aside traditional safety rewards and recognition programs. It suggests an alternative “no-program” approach that can be tailored to reinforce improvements, support specific initiatives, and achieve measurable results. Taking insights from applied psychology used in other behaviour modification efforts, this "no-program" program can help any organization revitalize their approach to reinforcing and encouraging improved human safety performance. Detailed implementation steps and recommendations will be available at the presentation.


Michael Fears is a CRSP with 20 years of occupational health and safety experience across a wide range of industries, including construction, oil & gas, education, and healthcare. He is a seasoned TapRooT(c) investigator and COR® auditor across several provinces, including British Columbia. Michael is currently a senior safety management with a national engineering firm and sits on an examination committee for the Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals. Michael Fears has studied at universities in Calgary, Ottawa, and Moscow and has taught in Canada, Russia, and South Korea. Since 2010 he has been a contract instructor with the University of Calgary in the Occupational Health & Safety program.