Health and safety | RBS

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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 2018, the total number of incidents (accidents, occupational diseases, dangerous occurrences, fires and incidents) reduced by c.15% compared with 2017. 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 c.7%. We report health and safety incidents to the relevant authorities as required by legislation.

We are committed to protecting, not only our people, but the people in the communities in which we operate. In 2016, we launched an initiative to deploy defibrillators in all our buildings in the UK with 70 or more staff. Our CEO built on this initiative by challenging the business to train 40,000 employees in the life-saving skill of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (known as CPR). This target was exceeded. More detail on this initiative is available below in our 2017 case study. CPR training packs remain available.

A major risk associated with the fire safety management of our sublet properties was closed in 2018. This related to the adequacy of fire segregation and fire alarm arrangements where the Bank is the landlord; this was identified initially by our Fire Primary Authority (Hampshire Fire and Rescue).

In 2018, we also completed independent insurance surveys of high-rise buildings across the portfolio. This drove a number of remedial actions to be taken forward with local teams and built on the 2017 case study below titled Grenfell Tower Fire Response.

Read our health and safety performance in detail

Read our health and safety public policy statement


Awards and recognition

As part of the prestigious Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Awards for Occupational Health and Safety, the Bank was the winner of the 2018 Commercial and Business Services Award. These competitive sector awards recognise those organisations that have demonstrated the best health and safety management performance. We also received our fourth consecutive gold award for how we manage the safety of people driving on business.


Dow Jones Sustainability Index (‘DJSI’) Dow Jones Sustainability Index (‘DJSI’)

Score 2017


Industry Average 2017


Score 2018


Industry Average 2018


The DJSI analysis is a product of benchmarking against 259 Financial Institutions across the globe, we are pleased to be consistently ahead of our peers and the only UK bank to receive a medal class for our overall score.




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 the UK our cash and coin centres continued to be accredited to OHSAS 18001.


Case Studies





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.



Training staff in the life-saving skill of CPR

The British Heart Foundation’s Nation of Lifesavers campaign has introduced a life-saving skill into the community to improve survival rates for out of hospital cardiac arrests. In support of the campaign, colleagues were invited to volunteer for training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), delivered through a British Heart Foundation DVD.  This training provides individuals with the skills to potentially save a life, wherever they happen to be.


Demonstrating our commitment to protect, not only our people, but the people in the communities in which we operate, Ross McEwan, RBS CEO, challenged the business to train 40,000 employees in life-saving CPR skills. We have exceeded this goal by training over 41,000 employees.


Recognising the value of training other individuals in the community, the latest phase is also offering CPR training to customers, schools and community groups. This initiative has already saved lives. A member of our staff was able to save the life of one of our customers by using the CPR skills he had learned. Additionally, CPR was used to save the life of a colleague at one of our large London offices.

RBS Response to Grenfell Tower Fire

The tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, in North Kensington, focused attention on the way that the hazards associated with fire are managed by the Bank. The big difference between our buildings and Grenfell Tower is the design and escape strategy, which is different for domestic dwellings than for a commercial high rise.  However, in response to the tragedy a review of our current arrangements, existing risks and any emerging risks was completed based on the information available at the time.


Following the identification of the potential hazards associated with the exterior cladding of the Grenfell Tower, a high level review of our portfolio was carried out. This focused on our high-density occupation, high-rise premises above four floors in height.


The Bank’s current fire safety arrangements provide a hierarchy of controls that protect those who work or visit our premises. The Bank’s general fire safety arrangements are compliant with legislative requirements, and there is a process in place to determine the adequacy and effectiveness of the controls put in place to manage the risks.


The Bank has a formal Primary Authority Partnership with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS). The formal legal partnership was dependent on HFRS being satisfied that the Bank’s organisational arrangements, and the application of these in the workplace, were satisfactory. Based on this review and existing knowledge of our portfolio, our Primary Authority Partner confirmed that he considered ‘the measures and policies in place in the Bank are robust and that neither the business or more importantly its personnel are at any great risk’.


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