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Health and safety

Most of our employees work in lower risk environments and are not exposed to significant occupational health and safety hazards. Nevertheless, we have a programme of initiatives in place to ensure that we continually improve our health and safety performance.

In 2020, the total number of accidents reduced by 45% compared with 2019. Despite many colleagues working from home, our higher risk operations in the UK of branches, cash and coin and data centres were still occupied. We report health and safety incidents to the relevant authorities as required by legislation.

Read our health and safety performance in detail (PDF 136KB)

Read our health and safety public policy statement (PDF 84KB)

Awards and recognition

In 2020 NatWest Group received a ‘commended’ recognition at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) ‘Commercial & Business Services’ Industry Sector award for Occupational Health and Safety and the Silver Fleet Safety award for how we manage people driving on business.

We are evaluated on our occupational health and safety performance by a number of ESG ratings companies. More information about how we performed as a bank in these ESG surveys is available on our ESG ratings and benchmarks page.

Training

All employees are required to complete mandatory online health and safety training, which covers the key risks for all employees including fire safety, display screen equipment, manual handling and slips, trips and falls. We reviewed the content for 2020 with an aim to instil a culture for all colleagues to have H&S in mind in all aspects of their office and home working environments. Included specific content for people and building managers of their H&S responsibilities. Building manager section covers workplace management responsibilities and includes new learning on asbestos, facades, fire emergency plans, risk assessments, emergency roles, and escape route checks. We also used the module as a vehicle to introduce a new Fire Tag/Hi Vis evacuation system in selected buildings.

Specialist training includes:

  • Emergency training – including fire marshal and first aid training, carried out in line with local legal requirements
  • The Bank has a driver safety programme which includes risk-based training
  • Specialist health and safety training is carried out in higher risk areas or for higher risk activities in areas such as our Cash and Coin Centres
  • Bespoke health and safety training programmes are in place for key roles including – the Institute of Occupational Safety & Health’s (IOSH) Managing Safely for Property Managers, IOSH Directing Safely for our Projects Managers, and Chartered Member IOSH and National Examination Board in Occupational Safety & Health (NEBOSH) qualifications for our Health and Safety professionals
  • In 2020 we created a Covid-19 safety e-learning module for all colleagues working in bank buildings.

Accreditation

In the UK, our Cash and Coin Centres achieved an accreditation to OHSAS 450001 standard in 2020.

Case Studies 2020

Covid-19 response

  • Bank-wide risk assessments created and reviewed for all operational activities undertaken, driven by ongoing monitoring of national guidance. 
  • ICG group support on H&S technical matters including Global Medical Adviser support
  • Launched ‘Staying safe whilst working during the covid-19 pandemic’ mandatory learning module for all key worker staff
  • Issued face coverings to staff where mandated, also made available to customers in branches
  • ‘Working in our building safely’ guide published
  • All buildings equipped with Covid-safe signage to support social distancing, hand hygiene stations 
  • Supported Standards and Assurance team on Covid assurance visits to workplace locations, and any systemic actions required
  • Ensured with Facilities that they had the appropriate number of first aiders in each building open with reduced occupancy
  • Established “Deep cleans” process for confirmed cases and justification for safe working environments
  • Led incident management process tracking confirmed cases, ensuring checks and controls are in place by the business if more than one case is confirmed in a location
  • Engagement with local councils when more than one case is confirmed at one workplace location. H&S team then worked with councils on controls and management of the incidents
  • Shared updates and risk assessment controls with Global Material locations, providing weekly support on changes and queries
  • The Bank’s H&S team will continue in their efforts to respond to any changes or incidents in 2021 and continue to support the bank’s colleagues globally.

Display screen equipment assessment review

  • The Bank’s H&S created an easy to use online form for UK and ROI staff
  • Partnering with the Bank’s Health Advisory team, an enhanced question set was built based on the type of case studies referred for occupational health support, which could help diagnose the causes for discomfort.
  • Colleagues receive an email with recommended actions after completing the assessment that they should then take forward to improve their workstation conditions
  • Signposting is in place to newer available resources that can help support musculoskeletal health: Anyone who states that they have discomfort is referenced to the new Being comfy @ work booklet or Physiowizard/ Private Medical cover which is part of the bank’s offering to support colleagues
  • The Bank’s H&S team now examine completion rate MI, thus improving the controls environment around the process and enabling spot audits if required, as well as being able to identify trends. 
  • The Bank’s H&S team will also be working with the global teams to create their own bespoke version of the form in 2021.

Case Studies 2019