Occupational Health & Safety

We believe all people enjoy a fundamental right to protection of life and health in the workplace. As our global business evolves, NIKE aims to provide safe, hygienic, and healthy workplaces across our value chain, both in our own facilities and in those operated by suppliers. We do this by adopting and refining safety systems and rules; through education and training; and by fostering a safety culture.


Our approach to OH&S rests on several foundational guidelines:


• NIKE’s Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) Policy


• NIKE’s Code of Conduct


• NIKE’s Code Leadership Standards, communicating how suppliers should implement the Code of Conduct


• Local laws wherever we or our suppliers operate


NIKE-owned and -operated facilities and Tier 1 finished goods contract manufacturers undergo external audits and internal assessments. When those processes reveal gaps in OH&S standard implementation, we develop management skills and implement tools that fix those problems. We also consider those audits and assessments as we evaluate contract manufacturers and choose whom we work with as our business grows.

Creating a Culture of Safety in Contract Factories

Across the footwear and apparel manufacturing industry, several risk factors stand out: fire safety, building safety, occupational health, and machine safety. We have been working for several years with our suppliers to develop more robust systems to manage these risks effectively at their facilities.


Fire Safety

We require Tier 1 suppliers to adopt fire prevention and emergency action plans to protect workers during normal working operations and emergency situations. To improve fire safety knowledge and practices among workers and managers, in FY19, NIKE collaborated with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) and Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), a U.K.- based safety and health professional organization, to develop fire safety tools and training for factories around the world. In FY19, 33 factory locations implemented the program, training more than 2,300 workers to educate their colleagues and facilitate safety programs. Since the program began in 2015, more than 100,000 factory workers completed training sessions on fire prevention and protection, as well as related topics like hazard identification, electrical safety, chemical handling, and laser safety.


Building Safety

Buildings must be constructed or retrofitted according to the laws of the manufacturing country, international standards if local laws do not exist, or certified structural engineering construction standards.


Occupational Health

We require our suppliers to anticipate, recognize, evaluate, and control occupational health and hygiene hazards in the workplace. They must use routine monitoring and analytical methods to assess potential health effects of hazards, and control worker exposure to them. In FY19, we developed plans to scale this initiative throughout our source base. Expanding this capability throughout our source base. Expanding this capability throughout our value chain is a strategic priority for FY20.


Machine Safety

Improving our factory suppliers’ capabilities to operate and maintain modern and automated machinery continues to be a priority. Our Code Leadership Standard requires contract manufacturers to implement machine management programs and track their performance against international machine safety standards. Through an engagement with internationally recognized safety experts Pilz, we provide advanced machine safety training and certification. Since FY18, 44 factory machine safety practitioners have completed the training, with 34 designated as Certified Machine Safety Experts.


Embedding safety into a manufacturing culture takes time, and we recognize that different facilities mature at different paces. Our safety maturity model – based on existing academic research and published whitepapers – allows our suppliers to self-evaluate their ability to implement a world-class safety management system in their factories. To build a mature culture of safety, leadership must participate and be accountable at all levels: assessing strengths accurately, and identifying areas for improvement. In FY19, nine factories were evaluated by independent third parties to have mature safety cultures and advanced safety management systems in place. Seven new ones are planned for FY20.


To help foster that level of engagement, in FY19 we developed an online training on how to use our self-assessment tools. The self-assessment can be supported by third-party consultants or NIKE staff, and the results are calibrated with a worker/management safety perception survey. The calibrated results are used as a leading indicator of safety performance. Additionally, we began to explore further ways to evaluate manufacturers based on 11 success factors, defined by the ISO 45001 Standard on Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, an international safety-management protocol. We mapped our assessment tool criteria to the 11 success factors.


As we continue to elevate a culture of safety within our supply chain and across our industry, we collaborate with others to resolve common OH&S issues. In addition to our engagement with the FLA, we work closely with Better Work, a joint program of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).


For example, safe operation of boilers and pressure vessels is an emerging issue in our industry. NIKE benchmarked Better Work’s industry approach to boiler safety, and we have strengthened our program through our Code Leadership Standard updated in FY18. In FY19, Better Work facilitated several industry seminars on boilers in Cambodia and Indonesia. Additionally, we developed simple tools and training on boilers and pressure vessels for the benefit of all Better Work factories (rather than just NIKE factories). NIKE actively participates in local Better Work programs in Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Nicaragua, and Jordan to build management capabilities and enhance worker health and wellbeing.


In Cambodia, all NIKE supplying factories are monitored under the Better Work program. The economically vital garment manufacturing industry is affected by a complex and incompletely understood phenomenon: mass fainting events, in which numerous workers feel light-headed and dizzy nearly simultaneously.


In 2017, the Cambodian Labor Ministry drafted safety and health guidelines designed to prevent mass fainting incidents. In partnership with Better Work, the NIKE team confirmed that its factories met these requirements. Better Work has specifically called out the issue of poor nutrition as one of many factors contributing to mass fainting; we continue to explore how to best address this and other drivers behind this issue.


In FY19, we began to explore additional relationships with organizations that share a strategic vision to improve workplace safety and health. For example, NIKE attended the Center for Safety Health Sustainability (CSHS) summit on Human Capital in April 2019, hosted by the IOSH. As a founding member of CSHS and recognized advocate for health and safety professionals throughout the world, the intent of our partnership is to elevate safety capabilities and cultures throughout our finished goods suppliers.



In FY19, NIKE began deploying the enterprisewide Environmental Health & Safety Policy into our owned and operated network. The policy affirms our commitment to operate in a safe and responsible manner in order to protect the environment and safeguard the health and safety of our employees, and customers.


General OH&S compliance remains a constant goal for NIKE-owned and -operated facilities, with individual business operations focusing on the biggest risks they face. NIKE’s global OH&S program aims to develop and implement consistent management systems so facilities can set priorities to address risk.


Machine safety, chemical management, controlling hazardous energy, and implementing comprehensive injury reporting are examples of ongoing enterprisewide initiatives. In FY19, we further refined our approach to machine safety, integrating a consistent approach to machine safety evaluation in our higher risk operations. We also significantly upgraded machine-specific Lockout-Tagout procedures with clear, visual instructions and labels.


Constant operational modifications are required to keep pace with how our consumer’s want product delivered both in retail outlets and digital orders. Our owned and operated distribution network in the U.S. and Belgium meets this need by designing lean projects with safety embedded in the process.

Safety Can Unlock Efficiency

An example of a significant safety improvement in FY19 included a retrofit of material handling equipment and work stations to create safer, more ergonomically supportive production lines by developing smaller work groups, modifying work stations, and optimizing order release flow, while shortening order lead time and increasing workflow, quality, and service performance.