People Safety

Why It Matters

At McDonald’s, safety is paramount. We are committed to keeping everyone safe – whether it’s the employees in our corporate offices, the team members in our restaurants or the customers who are visiting to eat.

The Company and our Franchisees employee a workforce of nearly 2 million across 38,000 locations worldwide. We have a responsibility to protect the safety, health and wellness of everyone who works with us. We’re committed to customer and crew safety, promoting robust health and safety measures in our restaurants and helping employees make more informed decisions to support their own well-being.



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Our Strategy

Living by our core value of putting our customers and people first means that we must continue to provide a safe and clean environment in McDonald’s restaurants around the world. Our international markets implement safety programs and set goals, providing safety training and equipment to support safe working conditions, and access to resources to maintain and improve staff health and well-being.


As the global community is faced with new and evolving safety risks, we know that we must continue to adapt and enhance our approach to ensure the safety and well-being of our customers and people.


Cleanliness has been one of the hallmarks of the McDonald’s business for over 65 years. McDonald’s has had one goal since the pandemic started – safety for our customers and crew. Our elevated practices are informed by guidance from health ministries in most of the countries where we operate as well as by recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO). We continue to leverage our long-standing relationships with external experts in health and science in an ongoing effort to elevate the hygiene and safety standards and procedures for our restaurants.

Informed by health authorities around the world, we implement practices to foster an environment where crew feel safe and supported, and customers have a variety of choices for contactless order and payments. This is our Safety+ commitment. Our measures have included:

  • Taking wellness and temperature checks for crew.

  • Providing equipment designed to reduce spread, like gloves, face coverings and protective barriers.

  • Adjusting our restaurant operations to better allow for appropriate social distancing between crew and customers.

  • Expanding our contactless ordering and payment methods, and sealing bags for delivery.

  • Promoting a timed handwashing system to ensure employees wash their hands with approved soap for at least 20 seconds and every hour at minimum.

  • Increasing the frequency of cleanliness and sanitization/disinfecting of high-touch surfaces such as counters, door handles and kiosks.

  • Providing hand sanitizer in dining rooms in most of our markets.

McDonald’s also puts a strong emphasis on well-being and access to benefits and resources for staff and crew, something we have expanded during the COVID-19 crisis. We created a cross-functional team to get relevant information out as quickly as possible.

The team implemented several new resources, including:

  • BeWell@McD – an internal webpage dedicated to employee well-being and organized into five pillars: Physical, Emotional, Financial, Social and Workplace.

  • A weekly BetterTogether newsletter, sent to around 4,000 people, which features relevant and timely existing benefits, and highlights new offerings and resources.

  • Regular additions and enhancements to McDonald’s benefits, offerings and resources.

  • A toolkit to equip our markets around the world with tools and resources to replicate BeWell@McD and a well-being cross-functional team.

  • An interactive PDF resource featuring well-being offerings for restaurant crew and managers was added to iPads in Company-owned restaurants. Content is updated monthly.

These efforts build upon the work McDonald’s has been committed to for decades. In addition to our global efforts, several of our markets have led the way in developing a robust approach to helping keep people safe.


Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals

Through our efforts to create safe workplaces, we aim to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a global agenda to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all, in particular:

Our Actions

Adjusting Operations and Processes to Help Protect Customers and Teams

Our commitment to cleanliness stretches right back to 1948, when the McDonald brothers opened their very first restaurant. No one wants to see their food being prepared in a dirty kitchen, so the brothers were steadfast in ensuring the kitchen, and the rest of the restaurant, was always immaculately clean.

This commitment to cleanliness, which has been upheld ever since, came to the fore as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, with restaurant operations able to rely on our existing quality, service and hygiene standards to help protect their customers and teams.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, 99% of McDonald’s U.S. restaurants remained open, providing Drive-Thru, McDelivery® and carryout. Safety measures were kept under review and quickly bolstered as required, including increased training for our crew and more than 50 process changes in all 14,000 U.S. restaurants – from increased frequency of cleaning and sanitization to at least hourly handwashing routines for all employees.

As restrictions began to ease, the U.S. market continued to move judiciously, with guidance provided by local authorities. A 59-page “playbook” was produced, outlining the minimum standards and elevated processes all U.S. restaurants must implement, in addition to state and local laws, before reopening a dining room.

McDonald’s restaurants around the world have also adopted significant measures and procedures in accordance with local health and safety guidelines, ranging from contactless operations to gloves, face coverings and protective barriers. There have been inspiring examples of best practice, including the fun, informative videos about social distancing in the Netherlands, and the plans for restaurant reopening celebrations in Portugal.


Engaging Expert Advisors in Ongoing Cleanliness and Safety Practices

McDonald’s has been proactive in ensuring our standards for cleanliness are as robust as possible during the pandemic. In July 2020, McDonald’s engaged Mayo Clinic, a global leader in serious and complex healthcare, to provide counsel and expertise in infection prevention and control. Learn more about how McDonald’s works with Mayo Clinic.


Market Focus: Promoting Health and Safety in Canada

In Canada, McDonald’s has aligned the provincial and territories health and safety regulations with national health and safety policies/procedures. As a result, the business developed a cross-functional team to execute an annual business plan to improve health and safety management, supporting incident reduction and continuous improvement. Quarterly reporting is provided to senior management to inform on progress against established key performance indicators. The market wants everyone to be involved in taking ownership for their safety. That is why crew, managers, maintenance people and department leaders are trained on personal safety, with annual health and safety audits to ensure compliance.

The Canadian market is constantly on the lookout for ways to improve its health and safety measures. Market-level Health & Safety Notice Boards are available to restaurant staff. Through these portals, staff can access information on how to raise issues related to health and safety, including how to submit a Personal Action Letter for any concerns.


Market Focus: Leadership as Champions of People Safety in Australia

Our commitment to people safety starts at the top in our Australian market. The Senior Leadership Team (SLT) plays a key role, proactively promoting a positive safety culture among employees and customers and engaging with operators and contractors to instate similar standards in their own operations.

Safety is on the agenda at every SLT meeting and included in formal presentations to McDonald’s management, staff and Franchisees. The three-year strategic plan is reviewed and updated annually, with targets set against numerous safety metrics. All incidents are reported through a new online incident management database called Donesafe, which greatly improved the market’s report collection over the previous manual process. Having this system in place during Covid-19, supported by changes to the back-office system, assisted the market with visibility and tracking of employee confirmed cases, close contact events and employees in self-isolation.

However, the SLT is not alone in prioritizing safety. A general personal safety module is included in every new employee’s orientation program, while managers receive numerous training sessions on safety. Extending beyond the walls of our owned restaurants, a program for franchise business consultants began in January 2020 to upskill them in general safety awareness and McDonald’s safety systems and practices. In 2019, a Safety Summit was held to upskill Franchisees on their safety responsibilities and to remind them of the tools in place to support them, ensuring everyone in the McDonald’s network is on the same page when it comes to safety.