SAFETY BINGO is one of the most popular safety games for work. It was created in 1987 by Pam Perlmutter, who noticed that there weren't any safety incentive programs out there that really got people excited about reducing workplace accidents. The rules are fairly simple, and the rewards are flexible so the game can fit into any company's budget.


The basic rules of SAFETY BINGO are easy. The company announces a base jackpot prize (usually somewhere between $25 and $100 depending on the budget). Each employee gets a standard bingo card at the start of the game, and at the end of each day, a number is drawn and employees mark off the matching numbers on their cards. When an employee gets a bingo, he wins, and the game starts over with a bonus to the jackpot (anywhere from $10 to $50) that will keep adding up as long as there are no safety accidents.

In order to keep the game from costing the business too much, some companies specify a cap (usually $150-500) on prizes since adding a bonus again and again and again can quickly make the jackpot grow out of control. On the upside, in order for the jackpot to reach the cap, your employees must have gone a long period without any safety accidents, which can easily save your company thousands.

When Accidents Occur

If a safety accident occurs, the current game is voided with no winners, and the jackpot resets to the base level. While the game is never stopped for safety writeups, the rules about accidents vary by company. Since employees are less likely to report safety accidents if they fear it will stop the game, it is usually best to limit the cancellations to the game to only preventable accidents, those that require medical care and/or those that result in lost time.

Alternative SAFETY BINGO Rules

In theory, SAFETY BINGO should not just make employees more conscious of their own safety practices but should also make them eager to ensure their co-workers stay safe as well. In other words, John will not only make sure he doesn't lift too much weight without a back brace on, but he will also urge Frank to use his safety goggles when operating the electric drill. While this may happen in practice, SAFETY BINGO may also result in John urging Frank not to report an injury because it will cancel the game and set the jackpot back to its base.

That's why some companies use an alternative set of rules that means accidents never cancel an active game but instead adjust the jackpot immediately. In this version, the jackpot starts at the same base value every time (again usually $25 to $100) and goes up $1 for every day that there are no safety issues, but if a safety violation is reported, the jackpot goes down $2. If a near-miss accident occurs, the jackpot can be reduced 50 percent all the way down to the base value. If an infraction results in an actual loss, the jackpot goes back to the base.

In this version of the game, the jackpot immediately starts to increase again after it goes down, which means that hopefully no one will be demoralized if she almost has a bingo and then an accident occurs. Additionally, the alternative rules offer a chance for employees to earn bonus cards for the next game round by offering the best safety suggestions during a game round or by meeting certain behavioral requirements such as perfect attendance.