2018 Sustainability Report

arrow blueCommitted to using financial, natural and human resources wisely without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs

Health & Safety

Protecting our employees’ right to work in a safe and accident-free environment.

United Nations Sustainable Development GoalsGood health and well-beingQuality educationDecent work and economic growth

Why Health & Safety Matters

Explanation of the material topic and its Boundary

Explain management approach components

Evaluate management approach

Workers representation in formal joint management–worker health and safety committees

Health and safety topics covered in formal agreements with trade unions

GRI 403: 103-1, 103-2, 103-3; 403-1, 403-4

Employee safety lies at the heart of our business and is our first and foremost priority. Our colleagues deserve a workspace that supports their health and safety and our efforts work to reduce lost wages from missing work time, avoid near misses and prevent injury, particularly potentially serious and life threatening safety events.


Our global Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Policy establishes our safety culture. The policy is supplemented by regional EHS policies for all facilities, further strengthening our commitment to safety. Our Safety Leadership Team, comprised of representatives from each region and business unit, manages our global EHS policy. To ensure our policies fairly represent the entirety of our workforce, we implemented safety committees comprised of laborers and management at all of our locations. Every two years, we conduct third-party audits at each facility to ensure compliance with all laws, regulations and policies. We use our Compliance Management System (CMS) to track health and safety tasks at the facility level.

Our Contractor Safety Policy, one of our 20 policies related to occupational safety, makes provisions for the safety of our contractors. Our global policies apply to all union and non-union colleagues in our workforce. In an effort to increase our management of safety, we recently integrated the tracking of safety observations and close calls into our CMS.

Our Serious Injury and Fatality (SIF) global workgroup was formed in 2016 to analyze industry research regarding SIF events and methods of advancing our program. Based on their work, we introduced the Life Changing Injury and Fatality Elimination (LIFE) program in 2017 to better understand and track close call and potentially life-altering, life-threatening and life-ending safety events. Through LIFE, we introduced our PIT-Pedestrian Policy to safeguard our colleagues against the dangers of lift truck operations, the event with the highest risk of life-threatening injury in Greif’s facilities. In 2018, we continued to focus on reducing potentially life-threatening events in our facilities by addressing suspended load-related safety, lockout-tagout procedures and enhanced machine guarding and focusing on safety behaviors that are most important in each of our facilities. To improve incident tracking, we incorporated reporting incidents and close calls into our CMS. We use this data to increase our knowledge and awareness of the conditions and behaviors that lead to at-risk situations, including developing a risk index to inform future decision making. In 2019, we will use our LIFE data to identify global and regional leading indicators and develop safety action plans to address the highest risk injury events.


Average Safety Training Hours

Each production employee in our business receives safety training, ensuring our safety culture is understood and practiced every day.

Our 2019 commitment to our LIFE program is a natural continuation of our commitment to creating a culture of safety every day. Our colleagues in RIPS North America use our Commitment-Based safety program to highlight the value of daily safety. They identify potential safety hazards within their job function, articulate and rank their safety performance and make pledges to take responsibility for their actions.

Formal training continues to be critical to our safety initiatives. In 2018, we delivered 16.68 hours of safety training per production colleague, an increase from 16.34 in 2017 and 16.2 in 2016. Across Greif, 799 managers, health and safety experts and technical experts have completed our GROW Safety Leadership and Development Academy.

As part of our ongoing commitment to safety, we held a global Safety Week in 2018 with the goal of raising safety awareness within Greif. Each facility provided educational resources to their plant colleagues and dedicated a half day to sharing best practices with each other to mitigate safety risks at work and at home.

Our PPS Division held two Safety Summits convening safety leaders from across the Division to refine the safety charter, establish safety priorities, share best practices from LIFE and promote new close call reporting and lockout-tagout procedures. These leaders strategized the best ways to engage our colleagues so we can keep them safe. 

To expand our global approach to safety, in 2019 we are creating modules from the GROW program as electronic learnings, recorded videos and online trainings so all plants will have access to the information. We want to embed GROW throughout the organization. Our PPS Division safety leaders have two more Safety Summits scheduled in 2019 to continue sharing best practices with one another.

Goals & Progress

Greif has two Health & Safety goals:

  • Reduce Medical Case Rate by 10 percent annually to achieve Medical Case Rate Zero in the long term.
  • Every plant will have a collaborative environmental health and safety committee consisting of both management and workers by the end of fiscal year 2025.


Types of injury and rates of injury, occupational diseases, lost days, and absenteeism, and number of work-related fatalities


As of 2018, each Greif plant had a safety committee comprised of managers and colleagues. We are proud of the results that have come from our vigilance in health and safety. While we did experience an increase in MCR from 0.95 in 2017 to 0.98 in 2018, we have experienced a 72% reduction in MCR since 2007, improving from 3.51 to 0.98. Since 2011, LWCR has improved from 1.3 to 0.57, a 56 percent reduction.

We are confident that our approach to safety is effective and the additional focus we are placing on injury prevention and eliminating life-threatening injuries will continue to reduce MCR and LWCR in 2019 and in support of our 2025 goals.

Employee Health & Safety

*MCR, or Medical Case Rate, measures the number of recordable injuries or illnesses per 100 full-time employees in a 12-month period.
**LWCR, or Lost Workday Case Rate, measures the number of recordable injuries or illnesses resulting in lost workdays per 100 full-time employees in a 12-month period.
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10 Years Accident Free

In 2018 Greif’s RIPS facility in Västerhaninge, Sweden celebrated 10 consecutive years of operation without an accident. The facility has focused on continuous improvement of safety practices and has been regularly commended for safety performance. In addition to receiving Bronze in Greif’s Plant Olympics, the facility has received the Chairman’s Safety Excellence Award seven times.