Our Commitment

At Pilgrim’s, we believe safety is a condition for becoming the best and most respected company in our industry. We know we should not and cannot operate our facilities unless a safe working environment is firmly established. We do not tolerate unsafe working conditions, and we are committed to providing a safe work environment for our team members by implementing company policies and procedures to ensure best practices for safety across all Pilgrim’s facilities.

Safe People, Safe Products and Healthy Attitudes

At Pilgrim’s, we ensure the safety of our operations and teams through three priorities:

  • Safe People
  • Safe Products
  • Healthy Attitudes

Safe People starts with each team member. Each Pilgrim’s team member must own both their personal safety and the safety of the team members around them. If a team member notices an unsafe act or unsafe condition, we empower them to speak up and make sure unsafe acts are stopped and unsafe conditions are made safe. Everyone is empowered to report and correct unsafe acts and conditions without fear of retribution.

Safe Products means taking pride in our role of providing food for our friends and families. At Pilgrim’s, we have the unique privilege of providing food for people all around the world. When we invite friends and family into our home for a meal, we take special care to make sure the meal is both safe and delicious. When we are at work, we are preparing meals for thousands of people each day. We must take the same care at work that we would at home to provide a safe meal for the people who enjoy Pilgrim’s products.

Healthy Attitudes create a safe place to work. Safety is only accomplished through teamwork. At Pilgrim’s, we recognize we must help one another to create a safe place to work. That means we must have the right attitude and be willing to assist each other when we see unsafe conditions or unsafe acts. Our team members have a right, without fear of retribution, to refuse to work in unsafe conditions or to engage in an unsafe act. Working together, we can eliminate unsafe conditions and create a work environment where everyone feels safe and serves on a united team committed to safety. At Pilgrim’s, safety is not simply a priority; it is a condition.

Our team members have a right to work in a safe place, our customers have a right to enjoy safe products, and every Pilgrim’s team member has an obligation to come to work each day with a healthy attitude of teamwork and concern for the safety of their fellow team members. This is how we create a safe working environment, and this is how we become the best.

Our Approach

Our safety policies, governance structure and management are designed to promote a safe work culture. The Pilgrim’s General Safety and Health Policy focuses on training and educating our team members and eliminating work hazards. Our safety management programs meet the government requirements in each country. Our American and Puerto Rican facilities are 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 business unit has a head of safety who reports to the head of human resources or head of operations, who reports to the head of operations or 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, inclusive of business unit presidents, vice presidents, heads of operations, heads of engineering, heads of human resources and the heads of safety. The council meets periodically to discuss outcomes and progress, and to review recommended changes from the Safety Leadership Committee. Finally, safety-related remuneration is included in business unit bonus plans and is based on business unit performance in various leading indicator improvements and associated reductions in severe incidents, defined as an amputation, hospitalization, vision loss, greater than five days lost time including fractures and second- and third-degree burns or fatality.

“The Russellville team had many successes this year, and the entire team built those successes on the foundation of the safety culture they have created. This milestone was achieved, not only as a result of the culture created, but also the ongoing dedication our team members have in looking out for themselves as well as their fellow team members. In Russellville, we believe that “Safety is no Accident,” “Safety is a Culture” and, most importantly, “Safety is a Condition.”

Zach Cummings
Plant Manager                 Russellville, AL

Each Pilgrim’s facility has a safety manager who reports to the general manager. Every facility also has a safety committee, which is chaired by the facility safety manager and consists of hourly team members and union representatives, where applicable. Approximately three percent to 15 percent of all team members are engaged in these committees, providing representation for 100 percent of the workforce. Our facility safety manager and a facility safety team analyze work environment hazards and propose innovative strategies to keep our workplace safe.

To ensure successful implementation of our health and safety policies, safety data is integrated across a shared digital platform, allowing us to better share best practices and identify enterprise-wide trends. This paperless system allows us to track team member first aid information and report trends related to injuries, off-work and restricted status, and treatment protocols according to first aid medical treatment guides. 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.

To continuously improve, we set company-wide 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 and have the utmost priority. All our operations supervisors are required to conduct multiple safety observations each week. The intent of these safety observations is to identify unsafe behaviors and intervene with helpful coaching prior to the occurrence of an unsafe act, condition or injury.

We also track traditional lagging indicators, such as total recordable incident rate (TRIR), days away, restrictions and transfers (DART) rate, lost time rate and severe incidents. We consistently outperform industry averages in TRIR and DART rate, and continue to improve the performance of our health and safety programs.

Promoting Team Member Health

We recognize and respond to the occupational health concerns and needs of team members, and we are in compliance with applicable state and federal regulations governing occupational health care delivery. In 2018, our parent company hired a Director of Occupational Health who provides continual improvements to our health protocols and ongoing training to our occupational health staff to further share and implement best practices across our facilities.

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, as outlined in our PPE Program. Our facility safety managers conduct workplace hazard assessments regularly to assess PPE needs and provide training and technical assistance to team members to ensure effective PPE usage.


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.

Health and Safety Training and Education Program

We center our Health and Safety Policies on training and education, as well as controlling or eliminating job-related hazards, to reduce the number of work-related injuries and illnesses throughout our facilities. Our in-depth safety training consists of new team member orientation, job- and task-specific training, departmental safety meetings and refresher training for team members every month. Newly hired team members must complete both classroom and department-specific training. We use the Alchemy Training system, which makes safety training available in multiple languages. Pilgrim’s has written job-safety analyses for each positions.

Corrective Actions

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.

Independent Contractors

Although our contracted workforce is small, we take our responsibility for their health and safety seriously. Through our contracting process, we partner with a third party to ensure our 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.

Increasing Our Focus on Prevention

In the U.S., we have prioritized a comprehensive safety audit project to identify and reduce potential hazards. We have shifted our enterprise-wide focus to early detection, including an in-depth review of policies and programs related to walking surfaces, protection from and prevention of falls or slips, electrical safety, machine guarding and ergonomics.

Based on the results of these audits, each year we identify three high-priority initiatives: one that is company-wide and two that are prioritized by each facility. In 2019, our company-wide initiative is improving walking and working surfaces with a specific focus on uneven surfaces, designated walking paths and three points of contact. Programs to address these areas are expected to be implemented at every facility. Following implementation of the company-wide initiative, the facility implements two additional priority programs. The majority of our Pilgrim’s facilities are focusing on ergonomics and fall protection.

We continue to increase our focus on prevention by improving our observation process to enhance our measurement and, ultimately, our performance of leading safety indicators. As such, we have implemented a new Safety Observation Process to make sure our supervisors are observing and accurately identifying unsafe acts and workplace conditions, as well as coaching team members to proactively change and challenge any unsafe behaviors. This allows us to use data collection, analysis and coaching to prevent potential injuries from occurring. We have also expanded reporting to include a leading indicator dashboard that is tracked weekly according to targets and includes monitoring observations for unsafe behaviors, working surfaces, machine guarding, safety gaps, electrical safety, drive cam coaching effectiveness, preventable vehicle accident rates and corrective actions. In addition, we have incorporated more team members, including hourly, salaried and management, into our Safety Observation Process to create a culture of ownership with regard to team member health and safety. We track our performance and improvements through safety-gap scorecards and corrective action logs.

Innovation To Improve Safety

As a company, 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 a JBS USA subsidiary, Scott Technology, to develop an automated whole bird trussing machine in an effort to further reduce injuries.

2018 Progress

United States

In the U.S., we have a history of outperforming the industry in safety for TRIR and DART rate. In comparison to 2017, the most recent year of published industry safety data, our 2018 Pilgrim’s DART rate and TRIR were 41 percent and 24 percent below the industry average, respectively. However, we did experience a 14 percent increase in our DART rate and a 12 percent increase in our TRIR compared to our performance in 2017. We will continue to stay focused on reducing our DART rate and TRIR.

Pilgrim’s also has an uncompromising focus to reduce the rate of severe incidents in our facilities, but unfortunately in 2018, we did not meet our year-over-year reduction target of 15 percent, having only reduced our combined severe incidents by 2 percent compared to 2017. While we are proud of the overall progress we have made in team member health and safety performance, we are not satisfied with our results and will continue to strive for improved safety performance. We will continue to employ key tools like Root Cause Analysis to better understand and correct any issues at their core and improve the overall safety of our team members.

Pilgrim’s USA* DART Rate and TRIR Compared to Industry Averages and Severe Incidents

  • Pilgrim's DART Rate
  • Industry Average DART Rate***
  • Pilgrim's TRIR
  • Industry Average TRIR***

* 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

**** Defined as amputation, hospitalization, vision loss, greater than five days lost time (including fractures and second- and third-degree burns) or fatality


Our Pilgrim’s Moy Park team tracks data according to the Health Safety Executive RIDDOR and, for purposes of this report, in accordance with OSHA standards. Our team has consistently reduced DART rate, TRIR, lost time rate and severe incidents year over year. In addition, Pilgrim’s Moy Park operates a Safety Index (SI), which is driven by key performance indicators and communicated weekly across all facilities. Each facility’s SI figure is tailored to its specific operational safety performance and calculated using injury frequency rate, lost days and total hours worked. Pilgrim’s Moy Park’s year-over-year progress is reflected in an impressive track record of continuous improvement as indicated in their SI scores. Our overall SI score has improved from 11.5 in 2012 to 0.70 in 2018.

Pilgrim’s Moy Park DART Rate, TRIR, Lost Time Rate and Severe Incidents

  • TRIR
  • Lost Time Rate

*Defined in 2016, 2017 and 2018 as a fracture, second- or third-degree burns, amputation, vision loss, hospitalization or loss of time of five days or more


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 severe incidents year-over-year, but unfortunately, we had two fatalities in 2018. To better ensure the safety and well-being of our team members, we developed and implemented a National Safety Plan in 2018.

Pilgrim’s Mexico DART Rate and Severe Incidents

*Defined in 2016, 2017 and 2018 as a fracture, second- or third-degree burns, amputation, vision loss, hospitalization or loss of time of five days or more