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With more than 80,000 people working for us, we are fully committed to keeping them safe and healthy, and supporting their wellbeing. Our approach is to strive for zero incidents, every day. This requires a global safety culture whereby constant vigilance on our personal safety and the safety of those around us is integrated into our everyday working lives. We are building this culture through communication and awareness-raising initiatives at global and local levels, underpinned by extensive management systems.

Operational Integrity (OI) is the term we use to describe our quality, health, safety and environmental management approach. The Chief Executive Officer has ultimate responsibility for OI across the Group, and the Global Vice President, Operational Integrity, who reports to the Chief Executive Officer, is responsible for driving our OI strategy, objectives and core programs. An extended OI Steering Committee, established in 2014, brings together OI Managers, regional businesses and corporate functions at least annually to promote a collaborative approach to managing OI across the network.


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  • Operational Integrity Strategy

    Our newly defined OI strategy now comprises seven pillars: Communication, Training and Awareness, Resources and Skills, Key Performance Indicators, Audits and Compliance, Environment Health and Safety (EHS) Assessments, and Leadership. The strategy priorities Safety and Health, as well as Environment. Our OI Strategy is communicated via a Top Page Initiative to facilitate management support for and understanding of our OI priorities and responsibilities. This ensures that information is consistently cascaded through the network and that actions are tracked through the regions and lines of business in a systematic way.

  • Operational Integrity Management System (OIMS)

    OIMS is a company-wide, integrated management system, providing employees, contractors, and customers at their request, with a single interface to all our health and safety documentation. The system is aligned with internationally recognized standards, including Quality (ISO 9001), Health and Safety (OHSAS 18001), Environmental (ISO 14001), Inspection Management (ISO/IEC 17020), Testing and Calibration Laboratory (ISO/IEC 17025), and Sustainability (ISO 26000) standards. Our CEO heads the Steering Committee for this system, which also includes a range of other senior managers.

    By the end of 2014, the system had been initiated in approximately three-quarters of SGS regions, with plans to roll it out to our North America, Northern and Central Europe and South East Asia Pacific regions in early 2015. We expect our OIMS to be initiated globally by mid-2015.

  • Incident Management and Reporting

    Our Crystal system provides a standardized incident management and reporting interface in 10 languages and has been implemented across the Group. This data-driven approach expedites our regulatory and client-mandated incident reporting, ensures all data collected meets our high standards, and encourages greater use of data analysis to identify trends. Despite the enhanced reporting facility of this system, we streamlined the reporting tool in 2014 and launched a more user-friendly version, Crystal 2.0 in early 2015.

    Incident investigation methodology

    During 2014, we rolled out a new online incident investigation tool via training workshops for OI managers.

  • Raising Awareness

    Our CATALYST survey shows that 82% of our employees believe that SGS is committed to employee safety, such as providing appropriate equipment and training on safety rules. Encouragingly, 74% of employees feel that the safety and physical working conditions at SGS are good. We raise awareness of safety issues in a variety of ways:

    Rules for Life

    The SGS Rules for Life are 12 non-negotiable rules that help save lives. They apply to all employees, contractors and others working on behalf of SGS. In 2014, the Rules for Life continued to be incorporated in all our safety-related communications, including Safety Day and our quarterly campaigns. We intend to further develop our Rules for Life in 2015.

    OI Leadership walks

    Active leadership engagement by supporting OI in the field and in our office and laboratory locations is key to reinforcing our safety culture and driving OI performance. Chief Operating Officers and Managing Directors, as well as site and laboratory managers, are coached by Operational Integrity (OI) managers on how to conduct such visits, supported by a guidance document, a training video on how to conduct an effective site visit, a mobile app which provides managers with quick safety talks and short interactive audits that allow them to conduct thorough HSE reviews in any situation. In 2014, more than 7,000 leadership site visits were conducted – more than double the number during the previous year.

  • Global Campaigns

    In addition to our annual SGS Safety Day (see case study in 2014 Sustainability Review), we conduct quarterly global OI campaigns to further our commitment to creating a safer and healthier work environment. In 2014, there were campaigns focusing on Leadership Walks, Manual Handling, and Slips Trips and Falls.

  • Industrial Hygiene

    Working in industrial environments can present potential hazards, such as exposure to carcinogens or damage to hearing. These hazards need to be identified and measured to determine if appropriate controls are in place or if additional controls are required.

    Our global Industrial Hygiene (IH) program uses a standardized approach to managing IH and includes training, employee exposure monitoring equipment for chemical and physical stressors, and an open range database for storing and analyzing performance data. The open range database is currently in use in Canada, Mexico, the United States of America and Australia. It will be used globally in 2015. During 2014, our Safety Data Sheet Management System, ChemWatch, was implemented across our global network, providing consolidated and up-to-date information on potential hazards associated with the chemicals used in our laboratories, and how to manage these.

  • Preventing Disease

    As part of a preventative strategy for managing the health and safety of employees and subcontractors in countries with a high risk of communicable diseases, and for employees travelling to these countries we offer education, training, counseling, prevention, and risk-control programs to assist employees, their families and community members. For example, our malaria control procedure has been implemented in the majority of affiliates in Africa, providing preventative equipment to staff who work in areas that may put them at higher risk. (See case study on how we are managing the threat of Ebola in our 2014 Sustainability Review).