Health & Safety

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


  • People are our most valuable resource at Greif, which is why we prioritize our Zero Harm safety commitment—a commitment each Greif colleague makes to one another every day.
  • Our annual safety leadership training enables leaders to build on our culture of strong safety performance and provides our safety leaders with the knowledge and resources to reinforce the importance of safety to colleagues, address safety issues and be alert to safety risks.
  • Our commitment to safety goes beyond our operations, to the homes of Greif colleagues and customers we serve, and to the products we produce as they are transported to serve the essential needs of communities around the world.
  • In 2022, Greif recorded a Medical Case Rate (MCR) of 1.50, which is flat to the previous year. Other metrics, including the total number of medical events, first aid events, close calls and LIFE events, decreased in 2022.

Why Health & Safety Matters

GRI 3-3 | 403-1 | 403-2 | 403-3 | 403-4 | 403-5 | 403-6 | 403-7 | 403-8 | 403-9 | 403-10
Management of material topics

Occupational health and safety management system

Hazard identification, risk assessment, and incident investigation

Occupational health services

Worker participation, consultation, and communication on occupational health and safety

Worker training on occupational health and safety

Promotion of worker health

Prevention and mitigation of occupational health and safety impacts directly linked by business relationships

Workers covered by an occupational health and safety management system

Work-related injuries

Work-related ill health
People are the foundation of everything we do at Greif, which is why safety is paramount, whether at the workplace or home. Safety is key to building on our strategic mission to create thriving communities. Our foremost priority is to avoid close calls and prevent injury, particularly potentially serious and life-changing safety events. We strive to provide workspaces that support our colleagues’ health and safety, providing physical safety and creating a culture of mental and emotional well-being.


Our transition to our global Zero Harm safety program emphasizes safety as a shared responsibility for all colleagues across the globe. The implementation of our culture of safety at Greif is supported by the Safety Leadership Team, headed by the Senior Vice President of the Global Operations Group (GOG). This team, composed of representatives from each region, works to standardize global policy and collaborate with local safety leaders to enable suitable regional policies. In 2022, we assembled the GOG to oversee our continuous improvement, Enterprise Automation Strategy, regulatory compliance and safety programs. Our Executive Leadership Team (ELT) empowers every manager at Greif to take responsibility for and uphold our culture of safety standards. To ensure our policies fairly represent the entirety of our workforce, 100 percent is represented by Safety Committees composed of colleagues and management at all our production facilities.

Our global Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Policy provides the structure and standards that inform our safety culture. In 2023, we will update our EHS policy as part of our three-year roadmap and implementation of the Greif Business System 2.0 (GBS 2.0). These changes will reinforce our one-company approach by harmonizing a global EHS policy with supplemental business unit-specific policies. Stemming from the EHS policy, managers are also provided with our Safety Playbook and training to review our safety programs. We conduct third-party audits at each facility every three years to ensure compliance with all laws, regulations and policies. Safety audits are conducted to analyze both equipment and processes used in the workplace. In 2022, we began to renew our external safety audit process to focus more on on-the-floor performance. We use our Compliance Management System (CMS) to track health and safety tasks, including safety observations, incidents and close calls at the facility level. Managers are provided with safety audit management system training and a safety audit playbook. Our 21 global policies apply to all union and non-union colleagues in our workforce. Our Contractor Safety Policy makes provisions for the safety of our contractors.

Our Serious Injury and Fatality (SIF) global workgroup, formed in 2016, introduced the Life-Changing Injury and Fatality Elimination (LIFE) program in 2017 to better understand and track close calls and potentially life-altering, life-threatening and life-ending safety events. Through LIFE, we have raised awareness and implemented programs to address critical safety behaviors at each facility. Over the years, we have used our LIFE data to identify global and regional leading indicators, develop safety action plans to address the highest-risk injury events, replace our risk index with an improved LIFE metric and implement corrective action tracking for LIFE events. We also implemented a process to share all medical cases and LIFE events using the Situation-Behavior-Impact format on a one-page document across our Global Industrial Packaging (GIP) business unit.

People are our most valuable resource at Greif, which is why we place significant importance on our Zero Harm safety commitment. Zero Harm goes beyond avoiding incidents and injuries; it is about each employee going home better than they arrived at work. Zero Harm is a positive mindset and safety awareness that runs through every aspect of our work. In conjunction with Zero Harm, we have aligned our regions and shifted toward a global safety management approach to become One Greif. We introduced new training and expanded the availability of existing training globally through efforts such as producing Zero Harm materials in nine different languages. In 2022, we delivered 8.591 hours of safety training per production colleague. We publish “Target Zero,” a quarterly colleague newsletter that communicates safety-related news, best practices and advice to our colleagues while aggregating updates and highlights from our facilities worldwide.

We are taking steps to standardize safety training across the organization. We update our training calendar regularly to ensure every plant receives the same monthly activity. We also utilize our Greif QS in all our plants to standardize how we log and report incidents. This allows us to run incident analyses to identify trends and work to mitigate recognized risks. As part of this standardization process, in 2022, we introduced a one-company forklift inspection process approach and a one-company utility glove policy to reduce the chance of injury.

safety week resized

Greif Safety Week

In May 2022, we held our annual Safety Week, attended by the ELT and external speakers. Hosting Safety Week in May rather than September, as done previously, allowed us to address critical safety concerns before the summer when risks for hazards are the highest. Colleagues had the opportunity to participate in exercises in a facility, office and remote working environment. During Safety Week, we reinforced colleagues’ understanding of safety basics, provided opportunities to share best practices and strengthened our approach to safety leadership. We also held our Safety Leadership Conference, attended by 638 of our most impactful leaders, where we encouraged leaders to promote a safety culture emphasizing Zero Harm.

Greif believes every colleague has the right to stop work and speak up when unsafe conditions are present. The Commitment-Based Safety/Quality (CBS/Q) program emphasizes to colleagues not to put themselves in dangerous situations and be attentive to situations where others may be unsafe. All teams begin each shift with a 15-minute dialogue around safety and quality, encouraging a safety and quality culture within the work teams. These daily meetings allow colleagues to discuss concerns openly and create an environment in which proactive safety behaviors are valued. Teams identify potential safety hazards within their job function, articulate and rank their safety performance and make pledges to take responsibility for their actions. We provide a hotline to elevate and report cases that cannot be resolved locally. We also continue to utilize a nurse hotline service to streamline our colleagues’ access to medical care and guidance. When an incident happens at any facility in North America, a team member calls the nurse hotline to discuss the severity of the injury and obtain advice as to whether the individual should seek further treatment. We take colleagues to see a doctor immediately upon request. We also promote the standardization and consistency of our safety metrics with our Global Safety Scorecard and visual standards. The Scorecard standardizes metrics within each business unit to ensure we evaluate safety consistently across all our operations and consider business- and facility-specific safety risks that drive global metrics.

GIP colleagues participate in TAKE2, a safety management process to encourage colleagues to “take two minutes” to think about the personal actions, equipment and potential hazards involved when performing a task that is not part of their typical workday. Colleagues then complete and sign a TAKE2 analysis. TAKE2 allows colleagues to stop and ensure they are thinking of not only their safety but also the safety of their colleagues. Before colleagues can resume the non-routine task, a supervisor, manager or lead must sign the TAKE2 analysis. Through this program, we focus more on the safety risks our colleagues may face at home that are relevant to the workplace and vice versa. We are working to streamline this process and make it more accessible, and we hope to release improvements soon.

Paper Packaging & Services (PPS) facilities hold weekly safety calls attended by all General Managers, senior leadership and other select colleagues from each facility to advocate a continued focus on safety. This is an opportunity to share best practices after reviewing incidents that occurred in the past week. We have learned from these calls and identified innovative opportunities for safety risk reduction. Sites within PPS have placed an increased focus on pedestrian and mobile equipment interaction, job safety analysis and risk and hazard recognition as part of our continued efforts to embed a safety culture across all Greif facilities. Additionally, we have a program that provides our colleagues with access to an athletic trainer to help them prevent and recover from non-work-related and work-related injuries that may result from the job’s physical demands and at home. This program is used at nearly half our mills and several select PPS facilities. In late 2020, PPS began piloting a virtual Athletic Trainer program to prevent ergonomic injury and illnesses. In 2022, we expanded the availability of on-site Athletic Trainers and currently have ten trainers across 17 GIP and PPS facilities.

1. A decrease from 16.4 hours per production colleague in 2021 due to a large number of North American colleagues already having completed Safety Leadership and CBSQ training.

Goals, Progress & Performance

2025 Goals:

  • Reduce Medical Case Rate by 10 percent annually to achieve 100 percent safety – 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.


Greif facilities achieved a zero MCR in 2022

We challenge all colleagues to be accountable for the safety of themselves and others. Our annual safety leadership training enables leaders to build on our culture of strong safety performance. In 2022, we conducted 44 safety leadership workshops, consisting of 318 hours of training in total. In 2023, we will take steps to extend our yearly safety leadership training to the colleague level. We offer our health and safety training in 20 languages to increase accessibility to as many colleagues as possible. The leadership training provides our safety leaders with the knowledge and resources to reinforce the importance of safety to colleagues, address safety issues, be alert to safety risks and successfully facilitate meaningful dialogue through our CBS/Q program. In 2022, we integrated employee feedback to strengthen this program and training, including translating the material into 18 different languages, and in 2023 the CBS/Q program company-wide rollout will be complete. This rollout will expand the program to office and remote colleagues.

We focused our efforts on facilities at higher risk for safety incidents, focusing our safety facility plans and reinforcing goals and actions on the most significant safety risks at each facility. Results of the findings are shared across other sites with standard solutions and improvements. Audits continued across PPS in 2022 and will continue in 2023. Since 2007, we have experienced a 57 percent reduction in MCR, improving from 3.51 to 1.50. This is a slight increase from the previous year when we had an MCR of 1.49. Since 2011, the Lost Workday Case Rate (LWCR) has improved from 1.3 to 0.74, a 43 percent reduction. We saw no change in our LWCR from the previous year.

We remain steadfast in our commitment to safety to reach the goals we have set for ourselves. Our overall safety strategy and culture of safety we have created in our organization are effective, providing the foundation we need to continue reducing MCR and LWCR in the coming years. Our CBS/Q program, Behavior Based Safety Observation and TAKE2 programs are critical in meeting our commitment to a culture of safety. All plant managers and most next-level leaders completed their CBSQ and safety leadership by the end of 2022. Remaining production colleagues will continue CBSQ training, and CBSQ/safety leadership training will be rolled out to professional and remote colleagues in 2023.


*MCR, or Medical Case Rate, measures the number of recordable injuries per 100 full-time colleagues in a 12-month period.
**LWCR, or Lost Workday Case Rate, measures the number of recordable injuries resulting in lost workdays per 100 full-time colleagues in a 12-month period.
*** 2019 data includes Caraustar for only March forward – no data included for first 4 months of fiscal year.
Highlight Stories

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

All Greif colleagues in Canada and the United States have access to an employee assistance program (EAP). Greif’s EAP is a confidential work-based intervention program offering colleagues and their families informational services designed to enhance emotional, mental and general psychological well-being. The program provides preventive and proactive interventions for the early detection, identification and/or resolution of both work and personal problems that may adversely affect performance and well-being. These problems and issues may include but are not limited to, relationships, health, trauma, substance abuse, gambling and other addictions, financial problems, depression, anxiety disorders, psychiatric disorders, communication problems and coping with change.

Employee Assistance Program
Highlight Stories

Celebrating Long-Term Accident Free Operations

Greif’s long-term health and safety aspiration is to achieve zero accidents at all our facilities worldwide. While we recognize the challenge of this aspiration, 20 of our Global Industrial Packaging (GIP) facilities, including the following sites, have achieved ten or more years of accident-free operations:

  • Amaititlan, Guatemala – 15 years
  • Beloyarsky, Russia – 14 years
  • Chino, USA – 14 years
  • Midland Warehouse – 13 years
  • Delta Cincinnati, USA – 13 years
  • Volgograd, Russia – 12 years
  • Vung Tau, Vietnam – 12 years

These achievements, as well as other zero injury facilities in 2022, provide strong models in support of our aspiration of zero accidents at all our facilities worldwide.

Accident Free Operation
Highlight Stories

Chairman’s Safety Excellence Award

Each facility that achieves an MCR of zero wins the Chairman’s Safety Excellence Award. Globally, 120 of our production facilities received the award in 2022 and were recognized at a virtual ceremony.

Chairman's Safety Excellence Award
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