Employee and Contractor Health & Safety

Keeping our employees safe, healthy and secure is our highest priority. We believe our safety culture starts with organizational leaders and extends to all who work for Agrium.

We operate in an industry that involves heavy machinery, chemical processes and other workplace situations that have the potential to cause injury. Agrium is committed to the health and safety of our employees, contractors, customers and neighbors, and the security of our employees, products and facilities. Our goal is to relentlessly pursue the prevention of harm through managing risks in our organization and by actively caring for each other, our customers and the community.

Our integrated Environment, Health, Safety and Security Management System (EMS) contains the minimum standards expected of each employee. The EMS guides us on expectations regarding how to conduct work safely, including key behaviors on risk management, stop-work obligations, incident reporting and investigation as well as meeting life-critical work standards. Each production and retail location develops site-specific processes and training to adhere to these standards.

These standards apply to our facilities worldwide. We audit every manned and unmanned Agrium facility every three years and conduct regular compliance reviews. Higher risk facilities are audited yearly. A more detailed description of our EMS is included in the EHS&S Disclosure on Management Approach.

At Agrium, we believe that it’s our responsibility to ensure workers can rely on a safe workplace and to clearly communicate expectations of how to work safely. Our employee safety programs are aimed at providing the training, procedures, equipment and follow-up to ensure a culture of safety. Our performance improves through clearly communicating expectations of behavior, and consistent dedication to awareness programs, audits and improvement measures.

We began a process in 2015 to reframe and refocus our vision, expectations and approach in all of our safety actions. In early 2016, our CEO, Chuck Magro, announced a new safety vision and strategy called Commitment to Zero. The program is based on three key principles:

  • Do it safely or not at all,

  • There is always time to do it safely, and

  • Care for each other’s health, safety and security.

These principles include the clear expectation that all Agrium workers have the authority and obligation to stop any work that is unsafe. We intend to go beyond factoring safety into our business to ensure that safe work is our only choice of action.

To ensure that we focus on the elimination of life-altering and environment-altering incidents, we have revised our key performance indicators for safety and now track more serious incidents and potentially serious incidents separately.


To help prevent injuries, we require employees to report all incidents and near misses. Once we understand contributing factors, we take or implement corrective action to reduce the risk of injury or loss.

Select Agrium facilities employ SAFESTART, advanced safety awareness training that teaches participants how to avoid behaviors that can cause them to make mistakes and errors. Telling employees to be careful is not enough. SAFESTART takes the mystery out of being careful by helping people recognize patterns that significantly increase the risk of what they're doing.

We conduct safety training at various levels: business unit leaders; facility-level leaders; site-specific; job-specific; and new hire orientation. Our safety awareness and training programs apply to employees and contractors equally, and we will continue to use all the tools at our disposal to reach our ultimate goal of zero workplace injuries.

In 2011, Agrium introduced the Tenets of Operation Program. The Tenets are 10 fundamental rules and values that address considerations such as procedures, prevention, equipment operation, information and reporting. The Tenets are aimed at empowering and involving our employees to ensure safe operations at our facilities. To learn about the Tenets of Operation, click here.

Agrium partners with its contractors to ensure alignment and commitment to achieving our goal of zero injuries. We have a rigorous contractor review and qualification process to ensure that our contractors employ programs, practices and management systems required to meet or exceed regulatory requirements and support the type of work they perform. Agrium Wholesale implements a contractor performance improvement program that:

  • employs ISNetworld  to ensure consistent program review, validation, and contractor grading;

  • performs contractor audits and post job evaluations;

  • ensures involvement in work planning and project execution;

  • requires participation in hazard recognition/control and job task observations; and

  • establishes designated safety representatives for all contract companies.

Through these efforts and relationship building we have been able to significantly improve our performance and enhance our corporate safety culture.

Our safety performance improvements are impressive given the fact that we have integrated several new acquisitions during the past few years. Companies joining Agrium are subject to the same high safety expectations that are applicable to the rest of the company.

To assist newly acquired companies in assimilating quickly and completely into Agrium's safety culture, we:

  • Communicate our safety standards and expectations to all new employees on an on-going basis, both verbally and in writing;

  • Provide the newly acquired company with the tools necessary to ensure success, including management support, training and capital; and

  • Monitor the newly acquired company on a regular basis to see whether additional assistance is needed to ensure a successful transition.

Process safety, targeted at managing hazardous materials and the integrity of our equipment and operating systems, has long been a focus at Agrium. We have recently replicated best practices that were developed at our U.S. operations at several of our facilities in other countries. Process safety audits are applied at risk-relevant manufacturing and distribution facilities across the company.