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 2019, the total number of incidents (accidents, occupational diseases, dangerous occurrences, fires and incidents) reduced by 9.66% compared with 2018. However, when adjusted to take account of the reduction in staff numbers during this period, the incident rate per 100,000 employees actually reduced by 5.32%. We report health and safety incidents to the relevant authorities as required by legislation.
Awards and recognition
In 2019 NatWest Group received a ‘highly 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.
NatWest Group Internal Audit performed an independent review between August-December 2019 on the second line of defence activities undertaken by the Health and Safety team for which we were rated satisfactory for both the Risk & Control Environment and Risk & Control Awareness (RCA).
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. Additional health and safety training is also completed by all our people managers and building managers.
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 2019 we undertook training of 17 Senior Leaders on health and safety matters including legal obligations which was facilitated by Bureau Veritas - which resulted in an IOSH qualification for attendees and an action plan to be taken forward by the business
In the UK, our Cash and Coin Centres continued to be accredited to OHSAS 18001. We are working on moving to the 450001 standard in 2020.
During 2018, we focused on the adequacy and effectiveness of the Bank’s Health and Safety related Compliance and Assurance. A major programme was initiated to review and update our life safety, health and safety standards covering activities such asbestos, fire, gas and façade management. Each standard was reviewed and updated. Additionally, the operational arrangements of each standard were reviewed and documented.
The opportunity was also taken to identify where ‘bite-sized learning modules’ could be developed to improve the technical knowledge of those who may be involved in delivering or monitoring the standard. This project will continue into 2019 where the effectiveness of our standards will be assessed.
Poland H&S Visit
The H&S team visited all three office locations in Poland, to undertake a review of suitable H&S controls and build stakeholder relationships with the in country team. The review covered:
- Injury or harm to individuals including employees, contractors or members of the public as a result of a failure to maintain a safe working environment
- Potential prosecution (of either the organisation or responsible individuals) caused by failure to manage or failure to meet in country legal requirements
- Failure to maximise our performance due to work related injury or ill health, caused by poor safety and health management
- Evidence of H&S/Compliance delivery models, all through supplier management
The scope of the review focused on legal requirements, accident/incident management, risk management/H&S Controls, medical checks and controls, as well as compliance related activity. Generally, controls were of a good level with similar requirements to UK legislation. There were a small number of gaps identified around maintenance activity and the delivery model.