Safety, health and wellbeing

At Bristol Myers Squibb, the health and safety of our employees are among our top priorities. Our long-term aspiration is to eliminate work-related injuries and illnesses.


Injuries and illness

Our performance is in the top 25 percent for recordable case rate among similar companies, based on most recent available industry data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016). However, our lost day case rate does not yet meet the top 25 percent performance among similar companies.

Since 2000, our recordable work-related illness and injury case rate has decreased 50 percent and our lost workday case rate has decreased 15 percent. For the period 2016 to 2017, our recordable case rate decreased 22.8 percent and our lost workday case rate decreased 19 percent.

To ensure comprehensive and supporting programs are delivered consistently across the organization, Bristol Myers Squibb has implemented an Environmental, Health & Safety Management (EHS) System framework that details program requirements focused on compliance, training and continuous improvement. Bristol Myers Squibb has established a comprehensive Occupational Health and Safety Standards Manual that outlines both requirements and guiding principles at the corporate level for implementation throughout our network of facilities.  Facilities are required to conduct EHS program self-assessments to monitor performance. Additionally, all Bristol Myers Squibb sites are subject to periodic corporate EHS Audits on a schedule determined by the facility size, functionality and risk.

All Bristol Myers Squibb sites are required to have a self-inspection program where departments, teams, and individuals proactively inspect their areas to identify and remediate potential hazards. We also maintain site wide and/or departmental safety committees in which employees work together to discuss and resolve concerns. 


Bristol Myers Squibb continues to evolve our programs that focus specifically on the prevention of serious injuries and fatalities. In 2018, we established new Life Saving Rules that focus on work tasks that are leading causes of serious injuries and fatalities within general industry. No work-related fatalities occurred in 2015, 2016 or 2017.

Safety programs

Our new global safety initiative “Think Smart. Work Safe. Protect the Environment. Learn. Share. Act.” began in 2016. The Global Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability department publishes periodic emphasis campaigns with posters and banners available in seven languages. We have June Safety Month celebrations across our global network of sites to promote and focus on safety and wellness, and we work diligently throughout the year to continue to improve our overall safety performance.


Comprehensive Safety Management System Assessments are conducted at many of our sites using internally developed tools. In addition, some Bristol Myers Squibb sites have taken the initiative to obtain  OHSAS 18001 certification. Periodic safety culture assessments are conducted to identify potential improvements and support implementation of new programs and processes to further enhance safety culture.

An annual Safety Award Program recognizes qualifying individuals, teams, sites and business units for their innovative safety programs and consistent demonstration of excellence in safety culture, compliance management systems and focus on reducing serious injuries and fatalities. Award winners share their model practices and are available to assist other sites in program development.

In 2015, we launched an updated global office safety initiative that continues to expand and increase focus on maintaining EHS excellence at our international commercial locations. The program includes site visits by subject matter experts, and regional meetings to share best practices with emphasis on EHS management systems, accident and injury prevention, reporting and analysis, fleet safety, emergency preparedness, life safety and program self-assessments.

Data collection

Bristol Myers Squibb uses common definitions and criteria established by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration for recording occupational accidents and illnesses worldwide. The data presented here represent our global operations from 2015 through 2017. Lost workday case rates include those incidents that involve time away from work. Recordable cases include those incidents of injury or illness that require more than first aid.

Health and wellbeing 

Our approach to keeping employees safe and healthy

Our Health and Fitness Department operates 16 medical departments globally, 10 of which are in the United States and Puerto Rico, as well as 7 fitness centers in the U.S. The physicians and nurses in these departments provide a range of health services including:

  • Emergency medical care
  • Treatment of work-related illness and injuries
  • Safety awareness training
  • Work-site health evaluations
  • Risk-based medical surveillance
  • Urgent medical care
  • Reproductive health program

Since early 2011, Bristol Myers Squibb has offered a broad Wellbeing initiative to engage our employees in improving their health and productivity through our “Living Life Better” program in the United States. To expand our reach, this program was expanded to our Puerto Rico operations in 2014. This program offers biometric screening, an online health assessment tool, and a platform to set health goals and manage progress.

In 2018, Bristol Myers Squibb implemented a global Employee Assistance Program (EAP) with a Wellbeing  program for our employees located outside the U.S.  All BMS employees and their families have access to programs to manage a broad range of problems from finding daycare to finding a financial planner or legal assistance, and more complex issues such as emotional wellbeing and addiction and recovery.  This program also provides employees, outside the US, with access to an online health assessment tool and access to health coaches to help them manage and improve their health.

Additionally, our Wellbeing program includes programs to assist employee in managing their energy, learned to be more resilient as well as improving their productivity.  BMS has flexible ways of working, calm rooms, fitness centers, walking and bike trails at many of our locations.   

In 2018, Bristol Myers Squibb became tobacco-free globally.  We have been recognized for this accomplishment with our wellbeing and benefits programs as recipients of the CEO Cancer Gold Standard award for the U.S. and China.

Our reproductive health program assists pregnant women and those considering pregnancy to avoid any unnecessary risks while at work. In addition, our companywide alcohol and drug-free workplace policy offers a comprehensive approach to rehabilitating employees with chemical dependence.  The company offers onsite childcare at three major sites with access to child care options through our global EAP program. 

The company is in conformance with the International Labor Organization Guidelines for Occupational Health Management Systems through our EHS Guidance.

Exposure guidelines

Our industrial hygiene initiative has established workplace occupational exposure limits for over 100 active pharmaceutical ingredients used in our products. An internal Bristol Myers Squibb laboratory, accredited by the American Industrial Hygiene Association, analyzes air samples collected from our research and manufacturing operations worldwide. The results of these analyses provide important information used to control employee exposures to acceptable levels through engineering solutions, work practices and personal protective equipment.

Crisis management planning and business continuity

In addition to site-based emergency response plans, we have developed comprehensive global plans for responding to crisis events that may impact employees, operations, or business continuity.  Our crisis management and business continuity planning considers reasonable risk scenarios such as natural disasters, fires, pandemics and other low frequency but high impact events that might require a large scale crisis response. Fundamental to our planning is the safety and welfare of our employees, the communities in which we work and live, and those who rely on our medications. The company has evolved our comprehensive policies that govern crisis management plans and business continuity needs.