Health and safety | RBS

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.

Read our health and safety performance in detail [PDF 136KB]

Read our health and safety public policy statement [PDF 84KB]


Awards and recognition

In 2019 RBS 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.

RBS 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.


Case Studies




Themed Reviews

The Health and Safety ‘Themed Reviews’ carried out a ‘read-across’ to assess the effectiveness of our current arrangements to control the life safety risks associated with asbestos, façade management, fire, gas safety, radon gas, water hygiene risk assessments and working at height, by visiting several of our locations.


Improvements to the mobile branch fleet

Our mobile bank vehicles currently serve circa 360 communities and cover 7,000 miles across the UK each week. We continue to make even more enhancements in addition to stabilizers our newer models have a disability access lift available for customers. 


Our 3 newest mobile bank branches benefit from air conditioning in the banking area  and solar panels to reduce our carbon footprint. For vulnerable customers these new vehicles have wider and shallower steps with improved handrails, a pull out desk area for wheelchair users, and also walking stick holders. All of these enhancements help us to better serve our customers and support being a purpose - led bank. 




During 2019 our external insurers completed independent audits in four of our large offices in India (covering locations in Bangalore, Gurgaon, Chennai and Delhi). Overall the feedback received was positive, and good levels of management demonstrated, some remedial actions were agreed and fed into a local action plan, for the India Property team to manage going forward. We have just under 19,600 colleagues based in India.





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.

Set Tab for lightbox