Our goal is to continuously improve our robust approach to health and safety, actively caring for our colleagues and customers, throughout the Company. Please read the stories below to learn more about our initiatives in this area.
Safety is a commitment we make to our employees and our customers across our worldwide business operations every day. It is part of our beliefs, our outcomes and how we do business. We are committed to the distribution and sale of high quality health and beauty products, the safe dispensing of medicines in our pharmacies and the wholesaling and distribution of medicines in a safe environment.
The Company strives to achieve best practice in health and safety management and to drive ongoing improvements even when they exceed local legislative requirements. Health and safety are included in business planning and everyday business operations.
The Walgreens Boots Alliance Safety Policy encourages open dialogue and constructive feedback from all stakeholders and also encourages all employees to engage fully with the management of health and safety. Safety committees with worker representation are in place in areas where required by law.
Walgreens Boots Alliance collates performance statistics on health and safety in order to assess performance and to monitor trends over time. Our businesses must develop and establish documented processes to facilitate the collection of accident and other key statistics to adhere to our reporting requirements and to local legislation.
Walgreens safety campaigns
In fiscal 2017 Walgreens launched an enhanced three-part video training to more than 110,000 employees in its U.S. retail stores, including a detailed segment on safety in stockrooms, which is where a significant portion of its workplace injuries occur. Also, during fiscal 2017, 94 percent of U.S. retail employees completed the annual Walgreens training package including a refresher course, policy acknowledgement and knowledge check.
Through trainings and focus on safety culture, Walgreens has achieved a 28 percent reduction in accident incidents in retail stores and distribution centers over the three year period ending August 31 2017.
To reinforce its safety programs, Walgreens recognizes regional and national champions. Aaron Butruch, shift lead at a Walgreens store in Sebring, Florida won the most recent annual top safety award. Butruch was applauded for a focus on safety that has helped his store improve performance over a one-year period.
Boots UK safety campaigns
Boots UK has achieved a reduction in overall accident numbers in retail stores, following the implementation of an audit program that assesses safety compliance in stores four times a year. In addition, Boots UK warehouses are well below the industry average accident rate, for accidents required by law to be reported.
Boots UK also received, in March 2017, the British Safety Industry Federation’s Safety Excellence Award for designing and implementing an alarm solution in its warehouse in Burton. The solution uses cables and alarm units in racking to prevent forklift drivers from pushing pallets too far into the racking and causing them to fall into the next aisle. Following installation in September 2016 the system has helped bring about a reduction in pallet incidents in the warehouse.
Helping to reduce senior falls
With its significant customer base of senior citizens, Walgreens is in a unique position to provide services specific to the aging population. During fiscal 2017, Walgreens collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Safety Council to hold two senior days focused on helping to reduce senior falls. Walgreens stores across the U.S. had information materials available, including a Home Fall Prevention Checklist for Older Adults. Customers were encouraged to talk to pharmacy staff about prevention tips and advice.
More than 100,000 senior customers spoke with pharmacists on fall prevention awareness during senior day events in fiscal 2017, and received a brochure produced by Walgreens and the CDC.
We consider information security, and the protection of our systems and the customer data they may contain, a top priority for the organization.
Data privacy and security
Under the leadership of our Divisional Vice President, Global Chief Information Security Officer (GCISO), we devote significant resources to protect the security of our computer systems, data, networks, and other assets. Our Information Technology (IT) department maintains procedures to manage and escalate information security incidents.
Our global information security policies, which are based on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework, set the compliance guidelines for our people, processes, and systems. We have programs in place to help ensure adherence to security policies, control frameworks, and regulatory requirements. We also periodically engage independent third parties to conduct cybersecurity risk assessments, which help validate our information security programs and provide us with suggestions for future enhancements.
All Walgreens Boots Alliance businesses annually review the pharmacy operations governance policy and complete a letter of representation highlighting whether there are areas of non-compliance in business procedures, with an action plan to say when they will be rectified. In summer 2017 we convened our first Patient Safety Forum for all of our pharmacy dispensing businesses. The forum meets quarterly to share best practice operations and to engender a culture of transparent shared learning.
Product safety and quality control
Walgreens provided critical support for communities and employees affected by hurricanes. A total of 1,271 stores, distribution centers and other Walgreens sites in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands were impacted by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria during August and September 2017, before and after the end of the fiscal year.
Walgreens helped customers access essential medications by reminding patients of special refill rules during a state of emergency, setting up mobile clinics and staffing shelters with pharmacists to assist evacuees in some areas.
Customers donated more than $18 million to the American Red Cross for hurricane disaster relief through a donation system activated at Walgreens and Duane Reade store check-out counters in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Separately, Walgreens made donations of emergency food and medical supplies and committed to donating $650,000 to the Red Cross for relief efforts in the aftermath of the three hurricanes.
Employees stepped up with donations to the Walgreen Benefit Fund, a private foundation and registered charity, for their co-workers. As of October 25 2017 the fund had provided close to $800,000 in assistance to more than 1,100 employees who faced financial difficulty due to the disasters. Walgreens employees stepped up as heroes in their communities, working with volunteers to deliver important vaccines, such as tetanus shots for emergency workers, and helping to evacuate elderly people from flooded areas.