Employee Safety

Employee Safety

As a global health care company, we strive to provide a safe and healthy workplace.

We are committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for our employees and contractors, and to complying with all applicable safety laws and regulations. In addition, we aim for Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) performance that is among the best in the pharmaceutical industry. We seek to eliminate work-related injuries, illnesses and unplanned events from our operations through comprehensive safety programs that are part of our EHS management system. We also work to minimize the frequency and severity of safety and environmental incidents by focusing on proper facility design, process controls, operation and maintenance procedures, protection systems and emergency response capabilities.

Our global safety program is designed to drive a “mindset shift” and reinforce the link between our leadership behaviors and our safety and environmental objectives. We believe that through visible management, leadership and employee engagement, we can increase the awareness of hazards and help employees make the right choices when it comes to safety, health and the environment—both on and off the job. We also promote a strong safety culture at our sites through active safety committees that drive program implementation and address safety issues collaboratively between management and employees.

Our company has processes in place that are consistent with the International Labour Office (ILO) Code of Practice on Recording and Notification of Occupational Accidents and Diseases (the Code) where governments have adopted the Code. In countries that have not adopted the Code, we report to governments as required by applicable law.

For consistency across the company, and to enable us to compare our injury rates with those of other multinational companies, we use the U.S.- based Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) record-keeping criteria for recording and tracking work-related injuries and illnesses. We require all recordable injuries, illnesses and incidents involving our employees to be reported and investigated to determine their cause. We also require that actions be taken to prevent recurrence. Our injury and illness data are consolidated into a central system, enabling us to analyze trends and focus our efforts to continually improve. We communicate significant incidents, near-miss events and workplace conditions that could represent risks at our operations and sites around the world. We also share corrective and preventive actions across our operating locations to allow all sites to learn from the improvements we make.

Learn more about EHS governance, roles and responsibilities.


We are committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all of our employees.


Our Process Safety program identifies and controls risks associated with manufacturing our human and animal health products. The program applies not only to operations that are subject to process safety regulations, but also to our pilot plants, manufacturing operations and utility areas where process hazards may exist. In addition, we have implemented a structured chemical-reaction-hazard review program for our research laboratories.

In the early stages of product development, we conduct chemical reaction and thermal testing of our intermediate materials and products to identify potential reactivity, fire and explosion hazards and environmental risks. This testing continues throughout each product’s life cycle to assure that we are aware of and can appropriately manage process risks. Global process safety professionals work with operational and engineering personnel to conduct process-hazard analyses and hazard and operability studies to thoroughly evaluate our operations. These structured reviews take place during process design, initial start-up and throughout the process life cycle, to ensure that our facility design, equipment, operating controls and maintenance procedures are effective in controlling process-related hazards.


In recognition of industrial safety trends and our own internal assessments, we have refined our global approach to managing safety during non-routine maintenance and repair activities, as these work activities are a leading cause of serious and fatal injuries across industries. We have developed global safety standards to minimize the potential for serious incidents when our employees are working at heights, entering confined spaces, and working on or near machinery, piping and electrical systems. This global effort is focused on creating a rigorous, error-free and safe approach to performing these non-routine hazardous work activities.


We have a strong Construction Safety program with a focus on zero harm to people, property and the environment. We educate and coach our capital project construction contractors on EHS fundamentals and the need to drive continuous improvement in safety behaviors. Our global engineering group has adopted a culture-based program that promotes safety as a personal value, which has led to a steady increase in leading indicator performance such as safety observations, pre-task planning and hazard assessments.

For construction projects, we use the days-away, reassigned or transferred (DART) rate for assessing our construction capital projects, instead of the lost-time incident rate (LTIR). DART is commonly used in the construction industry, and is therefore an appropriate lagging indicator for our construction safety program.

In 2017, we had no recordable or lost-time injuries on 95 percent of our capital construction projects. Our 2017 construction safety recordable injury rate (RIR) of 0.59 reflects a slight increase over our 2016 rate, and our DART rate of 0.32 is also slightly higher than last year. This is primarily due to an increase in the number of capital projects being implemented outside the U.S. where contractor safety cultures and performance can be less advanced. Even so, our injury rates continue to be significantly better than construction industry averages.

Our construction safety peer reviews bring in-house engineers, contractors, EHS and other partners together to conduct thorough project safety evaluations with lessons learned and sharing of best practices. We completed 117 peer safety reviews in 2017, covering 85 percent of our active projects in 2017.


Our Industrial Hygiene program protects the health of our employees throughout all stages of research and manufacturing by identifying chemical, physical, and biological hazards, assessing exposures, and properly controlling risks.

To protect the health of our employees, we first seek to eliminate or find a substitute for a hazardous material or process. When it is not possible to do so, we evaluate the feasibility of engineering controls based on the hazard and risk. Where engineering controls are not feasible, we establish effective work practice controls and require the use of appropriate personal protective equipment.

For new processes and facilities, appropriate engineering and operational controls are part of the design and installation. We monitor to verify the effectiveness of these controls after they are installed to ensure that they are properly used and maintained.

In 2017, our company made significant progress in evaluating and controlling workers’ exposures in existing processes by installing feasible engineering controls and by substituting less hazardous materials or processes, which is consistent with our approach of using a hierarchy of control measures.


Our biosafety program utilizes a performance-based management system to effectively mitigate bio-risks associated with the research, development and manufacturing of human and animal vaccines and therapeutic proteins. We use a robust and effective risk assessment process that evaluates and controls potential impacts, including:

  • Biosafety (preventing an accidental release)
  • Biosecurity (preventing an intentional release)
  • Bioethics (promoting responsible use of biological materials and technologies)
  • Sustainability (minimizing our environmental footprint)
  • Product stewardship (eliminating or minimizing safety and environmental hazards)

Each assessment identifies risk-mitigating controls and a risk management strategy, which includes biosafety training, emergency response procedures and containment level requirements.


The aim of our Motor Vehicle Safety program is to reduce the frequency and severity of motor vehicle injuries in our global operations. We have implemented a global motor vehicle safety standard and adopted programs to support safe driving skills and behaviors by our sales and marketing employees, who operate the majority of our business-use vehicles. As we make these improvements, we are seeing a corresponding reduction in the injuries associated with vehicular collisions, both for our own employees and for those with whom we share the road.

In 2017, 24 percent of our company’s recordable injuries were related to motor vehicle collisions. We saw a 23 percent decrease in the number of collisions, normalized for miles traveled in 2017 versus the prior year, and an 11 percent reduction in employee injuries related to motor vehicle collisions.


The objective of our ergonomics program is to minimize employee injuries and improve human performance and well-being in relation to job tasks, equipment and the work environment. Our priority business areas are the manufacturing, research and sales environments, where most ergonomic injuries and illnesses are related to manual material handling and repetitive motion.

Ergonomic-related injuries continue to represent about 15 percent of our recordable injury cases globally. To minimize ergonomic risks, engineering design and work practices are reviewed and implemented at our sites. We are focusing our efforts on the locations and operations that have the highest ergonomic risks by conducting risk assessments, implementing engineering and operational controls, providing training, communicating with employees and encouraging their participation in workplace assessments. These efforts help to improve employees’ ergonomic awareness, both at work and at home.


We prioritize the prevention of incidents through equipment and facility design, operational and maintenance procedures, and employee training. Because we recognize that incidents can still occur, our EHS standards require emergency response capabilities at all of our facilities worldwide. Our priorities for emergency response include: ensuring the safety and well-being of our employees, preserving the environment and nearby communities, and protecting our physical assets. Site-specific emergency response procedures include incident reporting and management, personnel evacuation, medical/first-aid response, and incident response and control. We routinely conduct emergency response drills and train employees in both job- and site-specific emergency response duties.

We conduct pre-emergency planning for credible emergency scenarios such as process upsets, fires, spills, releases, severe weather and security-related incidents. Many of our manufacturing plants have trained emergency response teams, and mobile fire and rescue apparatus that can respond to on-site fires, medical emergencies, technical rescues and spills/releases. Most of our emergency response teams interact directly with their local community-based emergency responders, and in some cases, assist off-site when requested.


Protecting our people, facilities, production processes and product supply chains from threats such as hurricanes, floods, windstorms, earthquakes and fires is critical to ensuring that our products reach our customers when needed. We proactively assess and manage these risks at our facilities and at several of our strategic third-party manufacturers and warehouse providers. Our loss-prevention program focuses on:

  • Providing appropriate facility and process designs
  • Implementing inspection, prevention and maintenance procedures
  • Installing fire detection and protection systems
  • Executing emergency response and business continuity programs to eliminate or reduce the impact of potential loss events

We also engage the services of globally recognized engineering service providers to routinely inspect facilities and review new designs and facility modifications. This helps us to maintain a high standard of loss prevention that is commensurate to operational risks, monetary value and supply-chain importance.


We have worked steadily over the last five years to drive down our workplace injury rates.

In 2017, our lost-time injury rate remained at 0.13, the same as 2016. Our recordable injury rate was 0.33, down 6 percent from the prior year.

Last year, 29 percent of our recordable injuries were related to slips, trips and falls, with motor vehicle and ”struck-by/caught-in” injuries accounting for 24 and 21 percent of the total number of injuries, respectively.

We saw a 31 percent decrease in the number of ergonomic recordable injuries in 2017 versus the prior year. Consistency in our case management process as well as improvements to our facilities and related equipment contributed to the decrease in these types of injuries.

In 2017, we continued to see reductions in the number of motor vehicle-related injuries, with an 11 percent improvement versus the prior year. Our global vehicle safety program includes a standard duty of care by holding both employees and managers accountable for achieving safe driving expectations.

We also continue to focus our efforts on slip, trip and fall injuries.  In addition to our focus on facility maintenance, we coach colleagues to understand their surroundings, take necessary precautions, and make better decisions to avoid these types of injuries.

Long-Term Injuries by Business Area (2017)
Recordable Injuries by Causal Factors (2017)
Global Safety Performance2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Workplace safety
          Recordable Injury Rate (RIR)0.62 0.58 0.48 0.35 0.33
          RIR percentage change -6% -17% -27% -6%
          Lost-Time Incident Rate (LTIR)0.28 0.20 0.22 0.13 0.13
          Fatalities11 1 1 0 0
Motor vehicle safety
          Collisions per million miles (CPMM)212.98 13.40 12.41 9.48 7.29
Capital projects construction safety3, 4
          RIR0.36 0.96 0.87 0.53 0.59
          DART50.20 0.44 0.38 0.26 0.32
          Fatalities0 0 0 0 0
Note: Injury rates are subject to change over time, as new cases are added and case classifications change in accordance with our own requirements and applicable regulatory requirements.
1. All fatalities were transportation-related.
2. CAPMM: Reflects both personal and business use of company-owned or -leased vehicles.
3. LTIR/RIR: Calculated per OSHA methodology.
4. Primarily reflects capital projects over $100,000 managed by our global engineering group.
5. DART: days away, reassigned or transferred calculated per OSHA 300 methodology.
Sales & Marketing38.3%
Animal Health5.9%
Facilities Management4.7%
Global Support Functions3.6%
Motor vehicle23.7%
Struck by/caught in20.6%
Chemical/biological exposure4.0%
Physical/environmental exposure2.4%