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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 2021, the number of overall health and safety (H&S) related incidents and accidents increased marginally, possibly linked to a relaxation of some restrictions and greater foot-flow around all premises.

Despite many colleagues working from home permanently for part of 2021, 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 86KB)

Read our health and safety public policy statement (PDF 36KB)

Awards and recognition

In 2021 NatWest Group received a ‘Highly Commended’ recognition at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) in the ‘Commercial & Business Services’ Industry Sector award for Occupational Health and Safety and the Gold Fleet Safety award for how we manage people driving on business which were higher accolades than the awards received in 2020.

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 2021 with an external communications specialist 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. It includes specific content for people and building managers of their H&S responsibilities. The building manager section covers workplace management responsibilities and includes learning on asbestos, facades, fire emergency plans, risk assessments, emergency roles, and escape route checks. We also used the module as a vehicle to remind colleagues of the 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
  • NatWest Group has a driver safety programme which includes risk-based training and we have introduced post-incident training to support drivers that have experienced multiple collisions to support their ongoing business driving
  • 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

Accreditation

In the UK, our Cash and Coin Centres follow the OHSAS 450001 standard.

Case Studies 2021

Continued Covid-19 response

  • Internal Audit completed a review of the H&S (Property Services) approach to monitoring and implementation of controls in 2021 and this drove a score of “1 = Satisfactory”
  • The HSE were invited by the Bank to undertake proactive site inspections, covering offices and branches, and these scored a ‘pass’ with positive comments
  • Work continued in updating with our Primary Authority, General Medical Advisor and other banks to benchmark controls
  • Natwest Group ensured there was a model in place for monitoring cases, and engagement with local councils in reporting required cases and supporting queries
  • Two Covid “outbreaks” were reported in 2021, as a cluster of cases were reported in two mailroom locations, impacting 9 members of staff. Although these cannot be confirmed as workplace transmission, the Bank reported these to be transparent, and worked with local councils to implement additional controls and “read across”
  • Lateral Flow kits were rolled out through various stages of Government provision
  • H&S supported (on panel) two Bank-wide “workplace live” sessions on Covid vaccination/Flu Booster
  • Government guidance across all devolved nations was monitored, feeding updated risk assessments, Covid hub (both centrally and specific activities like such as Business School arrangements and our mobile fleet)
  • Regular meeting established with Property Services leadership team and global reps to support guidance updates & key decisions
  • Ongoing engagement with both the UNITE union and the Financial Services Union (FSU) to manage relations and provide comfort with positive feedback received

Ways of Working

  • The new model for ‘Ways of Working’ reflecting how colleagues would operate following the pandemic has meant that many established H&S processes needed to be reviewed so they were futureproofed
  • Introduction of a clearer model on the ‘responsible person’ oversight that facilities managers have over our office locations where we have responsibility to complete activities. This included working with suppliers to complete some on-site health & safety inspections for smaller offices and the introduction of a health and safety directory
  • Work is underway with suppliers to increase first aid cover in light of increased flexible working for UK and ensuring that the global teams are managing first aid arrangements effectively
  • Working with Future of Workspace Design we secured the commitment that in redesigned break-out spaces in the technology provision would include ergonomically-sound options such as additional keyboards and mice and special adjustment items
  • Review of Display Screen Equipment assessment model globally to ensure that an established process is in place to review workstations and working with suppliers and local HR to review the occupational health and kit proposition for all countries
  • Introduction of an informal visual inspection guide for all colleagues globally to complete at least once a year to ensure electrical safety is paramount in home working environments
  • Review of Group Learning content by scriptwriters in line with new working approaches to ensure colleagues understand their own responsibilities clearly whilst working from any location

Case Studies 2020

Case Studies 2019