At Pilgrim’s, we believe that safety is a condition for becoming the best and most respected company in our industry. We do not tolerate unsafe working conditions and are committed to providing safe work environments for our team members across all Pilgrim’s facilities.
Team member health and safety is an integral component of our 2020 sustainability strategy. We developed aggressive goals for year-over-year improvement in the Pilgrim’s Safety Index. While the 2020 goal is only applicable to our U.S. business, we have started tracking the Safety Index globally and look forward to sharing our progress.
Improve the Pilgrim’s Safety Index score by 15% year over year. In 2019, the Safety Index score improved 37% compared to 2018.
*Goal set for our U.S. facilities
Our safety policies, governance structure and management approach are designed to promote a safe work culture for our more than 58,000 team members. The Pilgrim’s Occupational Health and Safety Management System focuses on training and educating our team members and eliminating work hazards. The System meets relevant government requirements in each country. We defer to governing bodies like those listed below to evaluate the effectiveness of external safety audit processes, collect feedback and make necessary adjustments.
Our American and Puerto Rican facilities operate in alignment with U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. In Europe, our programs meet the Health Safety Executive Reporting of Incidents Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). In Mexico, our team tracks data according to the government Secretaria del Trabajo and the Safety and Health regulations, which comply with OSHA standards.
Each Pilgrim’s facility has a Safety Manager, also called a Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Manager in some regions, who reports to the General Manager or Complex Manager. In total, we have more than 300 team members whose roles and responsibilities are dedicated to the health and safety of our team members in our facilities. Every facility also has a safety committee that is chaired by the facility Safety Manager or Site Director and consists of hourly team members, union representatives and key senior management from the site. Approximately three to 15% of all team members are engaged in safety committees, which represent 100% of our workforce. The facility safety manager and facility safety team (or Site Director, SHE Manager and facility Senior Management team in some regions) analyze environmental and physical hazards and propose strategies, aligned with the hierarchy of controls, to keep our workplace safe. Each Pilgrim’s business unit has a Head of Safety who reports to the Head of Human Resources or Head of Operations, who reports to the President of that business unit. There is also a corporate safety and human resources team that supports all Pilgrim’s business units by further analyzing data and tracking programs across the company. The Heads of Safety at Pilgrim’s sit on a corporate Safety Leadership Committee. This committee meets regularly to discuss safety standards and best practices. Every Head of Safety also participates in the Executive Safety Council. This Council consists of executives from across the Pilgrim’s parent company including; business unit Presidents, Vice Presidents, Heads of Operations, Heads of Engineering, Heads of Human Resources and the Heads of Safety. The council meets regularly to discuss outcomes and progress, and to review recommended changes from the Safety Leadership Committee. Safety performance is also a driver of executive-level bonuses.
To ensure successful implementation of our health and safety policies, safety data is integrated across a shared digital platform, allowing us to share best practices and identify enterprise-wide trends. This enables us to develop data-driven corrective actions to our processes, including team member observations, safety inspections and audits. We also update our safety programs regularly by detailing new challenges, auditing techniques and providing straightforward solutions. Our safety teams focus on safety training, performance, measurement and the sharing of best practices across all of Pilgrim’s business units.
Team members are empowered to report and correct unsafe acts and conditions without fear of retribution. Team members are also empowered to remove themselves from situations they deem to be unsafe.
To continuously improve, we set companywide and facility-specific safety goals each year and track leading safety indicators. Performance is reported daily, weekly and monthly to management teams so decisions that impact health and safety can be made swiftly. All operations supervisors are required to conduct multiple safety observations each week to identify unsafe behaviors and intervene with helpful coaching prior to the occurrence of an unsafe act, condition or injury.
We monitor weekly for unsafe behaviors, working surfaces, machine guarding, safety gaps, electrical safety, drive cam coaching effectiveness, preventable vehicle accident rates and corrective actions. We also track indicators, such as total recordable incident rate (TRIR), days away, restrictions and transfers (DART) rate, lost time rate and severe incidents, weekly. We consistently outperform industry averages in TRIR and DART rate, and continue to improve the performance of our health and safety programs.
We also track a Safety Index for each facility that measures the frequency of severe incidents per hour of operation. A severe incident is defined as an amputation, hospitalization, vision loss, fracture or second- or third-degree burns resulting in greater than five days lost time, any injury resulting in greater than five days lost time or a fatality.
We recognize and respond to the occupational health concerns and needs of team members, and we comply with applicable state and federal regulations governing occupational health care delivery. Pilgrim’s has a director of occupational health who identifies potential improvements and conducts training for occupational health staff.
Our Ergonomic Improvement Program is designed to reduce the effects of repetition, contact stress and static postures. The program is tailored for each facility to control or eliminate potential conditions or work activities that pose ergonomic risks at each particular site. Our managers take ergonomic improvements seriously and conduct annual training and assessments to continually improve the program.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) for team members is standard across Pilgrim’s. Our facility safety managers conduct workplace hazard assessments regularly to assess PPE needs and provide training or technical assistance to team members to ensure effective PPE usage.
Our Occupational Health and Safety Management System focuses on training and education, controlling or eliminating job-related hazards, and reducing the number of work-related injuries and illnesses throughout our facilities. Our in-depth safety trainings consist of new team member orientation, job- and task-specific trainings, departmental safety meetings and refresher trainings for team members every month. All new hires complete classroom and department-specific training. We use the Alchemy Training system to make safety training available for new hires in multiple languages. We also have written job-safety analyses for all of our positions.
During every fiscal year, we conduct a comprehensive safety audit project to identify and reduce potential hazards related to walking surfaces, falls and slips, electrical safety, machine guarding and ergonomics. Based on the results of the annual audits, we identify three high-priority initiatives—one that is companywide, one that is business unit-wide and two that are prioritized by each facility. Additionally, each facility undergoes an annual ergonomics audit where issues are identified, logged and remediated within a reasonable period of time. In 2020, our company-wide initiative is machine guarding with a focus on conveyor belt guarding.
Our Safety Observation Process ensures supervisors identify unsafe acts or workplace conditions and coach team members to proactively change potentially dangerous behaviors. The Safety Observation Process allows Pilgrim’s to use data collection, analysis and coaching to prevent injuries from occurring. In addition to supervisors, the Safety Observation Process incorporates other hourly and salaried team members to foster a culture of shared ownership with regard to health and safety. Our reporting also includes a leading indicator dashboard that is tracked weekly according to targets and includes monitoring observations for unsafe behaviors.
While we focus on education, training, process improvements and cultural accountability, accidents do occur, and we must acknowledge, report and learn from safety-related incidents. We have a formal Incident Investigation Procedure to investigate and reduce, mitigate or eliminate injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The incident investigation process assists operations in preventing the recurrence of similar incidents and in identifying injury and illness trends, potential weaknesses or failures in our safety management and proximate and root causes of incidents. This process allows Pilgrim’s to develop effective corrective action plans. In addition, within each business unit, locations regularly share incident investigation information to facilitate learning and prevention.
Each year, every location undergoes a comprehensive safety management system audit, a fleet safety audit and an occupational health audit. In addition, since 2015, Pilgrim’s has conducted comprehensive safety analysis audits to identify and reduce potential hazards.
Although our contracted workforce is a small portion of our total workforce, we take our responsibility for their health and safety seriously. We partner with third parties to ensure Pilgrim’s contractors meet our health and safety standards. In the U.S., contractors are required to have an “A” or “B” grade to work at our facilities. Those contractors with “C” and “F” grades must have a variance form on file granted by the site safety and health manager and the general manager. Contractor grades are derived from Contract Safety Information, which includes safety, injury and illness statistics, aggregate insurance requirements, OSHA inspection history, workers’ compensation experience modifier (EMR), OSHA forms 300 and 300A, written health, safety and environmental programs, safety-training documentation, and Pilgrim’s safety briefing online training.
In Mexico and Europe, all independent contractors are required to meet our health and safety standards.
Team members are trained on food and behavior safety protocol and we are exploring using diverse technology including virtual reality for trainings.
We partnered with Scott Technology, a leading global developer of automation and robotic solutions, to help us identify operational opportunities to utilize technology to decrease the potential for injuries.
For example, we have a goal to transition to BladeStop Bandsaws, which are designed to reduce serious injuries by mechanically stopping the blade when the unit senses the operator has come in contact with the blade. In addition to BladeStop technology, Pilgrim’s has partnered with Scott Technology to develop an automated whole bird trussing machine.
Various business units have also piloted wearable technology and many facilities use machines to validate knife sharpness to ensure team members are performing their duties in the most ergonomically optimal manner possible. Implementing innovative technology has improved the Safety Index in Pilgrim’s facilities.
In 2019, we reduced our DART rate by 15%, had a 4% increase in TRIR but improved our Safety Index score by 37%, compared to 2018. In 2019, Pilgrim’s U.S. DART rate and TRIR were 45% and 14% below the most recently published industry average, respectively. Unfortunately, in 2019 we had one fatality in the U.S. We will continue to strive for improved company performance around safety, and allocate resources and tools to better understand and correct any issues at their core and improve the overall safety of our team members.
* Includes all facilities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico
** Industry averages not yet available
*** U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Poultry Processing
**** Pilgrim’s Safety Index measures the frequency of severe incidents per hour of operation. A severe incident is defined as an amputation, hospitalization, vision loss, fracture or second- or third-degree burns resulting in greater than five days lost time, any injury resulting in greater than five days lost time or a fatality.
Our Pilgrim’s Moy Park and Tulip teams track data according to the Health Safety Executive RIDDOR (Reporting of Incidents Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences) Regulations, in accordance with OSHA standards. Our Moy Park team has consistently reduced DART rate, TRIR and Lost Time rate year-over-year. From 2018 to 2019 Pilgrim’s Moy Park reduced DART rate by 29%. Pilgrim’s acquired Tulip in October of 2019 and is in the process of aligning policies, training, documentation and best practices.
* Data includes Pilgrim’s Moy Park and Pilgrim’s Tulip
** Pilgrim’s Safety Index measures the frequency of severe incidents per hour of operation. A severe incident is defined as an amputation, hospitalization, vision loss, fracture or second- or third-degree burns resulting in greater than five days lost time, any injury resulting in greater than five days lost time or a fatality.
In Mexico, our team tracks data according to the government Secretaria del Trabajo and the Safety and Health regulations, which comply with OSHA standards. Our team has continued to reduce its DART rate and improve our Safety Index score year-over-year. We decreased our DART rate by 60% and improved our Safety Index score by 37% from 2018 to 2019.
* Pilgrim’s Safety Index measures the frequency of severe incidents per hour of operation. A severe incident is defined as an amputation, hospitalization, vision loss, fracture or second- or third-degree burns resulting in greater than five days lost time, any injury resulting in greater than five days lost time or a fatality.