Health & Safety

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


  • Zero Harm is Greif’s commitment to safety within our Build to Last Strategy. In 2023, we focused on making personal commitments to safety through our new Commitment-Based Safety/Quality (CBS/Q) program. Our most valuable asset is our people, and keeping our colleagues safe and healthy is a fundamental priority.
  • Our Life-Changing Injury and Fatality Elimination (LIFE) program is a key instrument for monitoring, tracking and preventing workplace incidents. Through LIFE, we have raised awareness and implemented programs to address critical safety behaviors and processes at each facility by identifying global and regional leading indicators, developing safety action plans to address events, and implementing corrective action tracking for events.
  • Our commitment to safety goes beyond just our operations to focusing on keeping colleagues safe even when they leave our facilities. We also extend our safety commitment to the customers we serve and to the products we produce.

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

Safety is an integral aspect of our strategic mission to create thriving communities by achieving Zero Harm. To protect our colleagues, we implement programs such as trainings and initiatives to raise awareness on avoiding close calls and preventing injuries. We strive to provide workplaces that support our colleagues’ health and safety, ensuring physical safety and creating a culture of mental and emotional well-being.


Everyone at Greif shares a responsibility for creating a safe workplace. The Global Operations Group (GOG), which is comprised of our Safety Leadership Team and representatives from each region, is responsible for implementing a culture of safety through global policies and, where applicable, regional procedures. The GOG also has oversight for the continuous improvement and compliance of our safety programs at Greif.

Over the past year, the GOG has been working on updates to our environmental, health and safety (EHS) policies to reflect one standard procedure across all regions where Greif operates, with supplemental business unit-specific policies. We expect to finalize many of these updates in 2024. We also employ a Contractor Safety Policy, which provides safety standards for our contractors, in addition to our other global policies which apply to all union and non-union colleagues in our workforce.

Auditing helps us to verify that our colleagues and operations are adhering to the various policies and guidelines we have established to create a safe workplace. We utilize our Safety Audit system in Greif QS to log and track the status of third-party audits. We conduct third-party audits on a rolling basis at each facility to ensure compliance with all laws, regulations and policies. One hundred percent of Greif facilities are audited within a three-year time span. In FY23, 62 facilities were audited, and in FY22, 46 facilities were audited. Our approach to global auditing was streamlined in 2023 to better calibrate our view of performance across sites. While these third-party audits play an essential role in our compliance obligations, we also use the results to go above-and-beyond. The audit scores inform our LIFE risk areas, safety management systems and standardized performance measurement.

Through Greif’s Compliance Management System (CMS), we report audit results and develop preventative and corrective actions to take when necessary. The CMS tracks auditor responses and feedback on a real-time basis and uses the information to create a dashboard of safety KPIs that directly corresponds to auditors’ recommended or required health and safety tasks. For any audit findings, we simplified our approach so that colleagues can easily view and complete corrective actions. For more complex findings, colleagues are required to conduct a full root cause investigation and implement corrective actions accordingly.

In addition, we improved our internal reporting processes based on our CMS throughout 2023. We share CMS incident learnings on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to improve our systems and processes and replicate best practices. Daily Incident Reports are sent directly to CMS users, while weekly and monthly safety production reports are sent to EHS Directors to share knowledge and opportunities for improvement. These reports are also shared in CBS/Q program meetings as additional knowledge-sharing opportunities for our colleagues. Furthermore, we publish our “Target Zero” quarterly newsletter to communicate safety-related news and highlights from our facilities worldwide to all Greif colleagues.

Greif’s LIFE program identifies risks, close calls, near misses and other incidents that could lead to life-altering events. In particular, LIFE oversees risks associated with nearly a dozen risk categories including hazmat, fire or explosion, electrical exposure, lock out/tag out, machine guarding, forklift safety and other high-risk scenarios. LIFE training provides information specific to these types of risks, for example, Greif hosted a companywide global lockout/tag out training in the fall of 2023.

Our LIFE program is also a key instrument for monitoring, tracking and preventing workplace incidents. In 2023, we simplified the auditing and reporting of LIFE events in our CMS. Reported incidents are now discussed during monthly calls with our Global Industrial Packaging (GIP) function where we identify root causes and corrective actions and offer any support needed. This change has greatly improved the quality of our root cause investigations as it has created visibility with and follow-up from our senior leadership.

safety week resized

Greif Safety Week

Greif held our annual Safety Week during May 2023, which included participation from the Executive Leadership Team and external speakers. Colleagues immersed themselves in practical exercises spanning facility, office and remote working scenarios. Throughout the week, we deepened colleagues’ understanding of safety fundamentals, facilitating the exchange of best practices and strengthened our approach to safety leadership. We also held our Safety Leadership Conference—attended by 1,582 top Greif leaders—where we reinforced the importance of a safety culture dedicated to Zero Harm.

Greif believes every colleague has the right to stop work and speak up when unsafe conditions are present. Our CBS/Q program reiterates that colleagues must be attentive to situations that pose a safety risk to themselves or others. Each team is responsible for identifying potential safety hazards within their job function. In the case of an incident, Greif maintains a colleague hotline to elevate and report cases that cannot be resolved locally, in addition to a direct medical support hotline service that streamlines our colleagues’ access to medical care and guidance.

Goals, Progress & Performance

2025 Goals:

  • Reduce medical case rate (MCR) by 10 percent annually to achieve our long-term target of 100 percent safety with an MCR of zero. This includes a goal of achieving a MCR below 1.5 in 2024.
  • Every plant will have a collaborative EHS Committee consisting of both management and workers by the end of FY24.


Greif facilities achieved a zero MCR in 2023

Implementing a strong training program helps us create a safe culture at Greif. We offer our health and safety training in 20 languages to increase accessibility to as many colleagues as possible. The leadership training provides our 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 and interactive dialogue through our CBS/Q program, which was implemented globally in 2023.

We focused our efforts on facilities with a higher risk for safety incidents, sharpening our safety facility plans and reinforcing goals and actions on the most significant safety risks at each facility. We share lessons learned from these efforts and resulting solutions and improvements across our other facilities. Greif’s Focus Facility Program helps to identify sites around the world that are facing safety challenges. Once identified, we assess the site and offer additional support tailored to their site-specific risks and needs.

Since 2007, we have experienced a 50 percent reduction in MCR, improving from 3.51 to 1.75 in 2023. This is a slight increase from the previous year when we had an MCR of 1.5 because of improvements to our data collection process. Since 2011, the Lost Workday Case Rate (LWCR) has improved from 1.3 to 0.83, a 36 percent reduction.

In 2023, we saw a reduction in LIFE events across the company in addition to a significant reduction in the severity of incidents. In 2023, Greif colleagues reported 175 LIFE events – a clear improvement from the 201 events reported in 2022.

In September 2023, our global EHS team had its first in-person meeting, which brought together colleagues within the GOG and health, safety and environment teams. During the meeting, colleagues discussed our three-year health and safety roadmap and connected on team development and relationship building.


*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
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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, 10 of our Global Industrial Packaging (GIP) facilities, including the following sites, have achieved ten or more years of accident-free operations:

  • Amaititlan, Guatemala – 16 years
  • Beloyarsky, Russia – 15 years
  • Omsk, Russia – 15 years
  • Delta Cincinnati, USA – 14 years
  • Volgograd, Russia – 15 years
  • Vung Tau, Vietnam – 12 years
  • Tri-Sure Vreeland/Vreeland Paint, Netherlands – 10 years
  • Kazan, Russia – 15 years
  • Vologda, Russia – 15 years
  • Mobeni, South Africa – 10 years

These achievements, as well as other zero injury facilities in 2023, 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, 97 of our production facilities received the award in 2023 and were recognized at a virtual ceremony.

Chairmans Safety Awards Logo 2023 scaled
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