Health and safety | RBS


The content on this webpage will be updated during H1 2018

Health and safety

The majority 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 2016, the total number of incidents (accidents, occupational diseases, dangerous occurrences, fires and natural cause incidents) reduced by approxiamately 8% compared with 2015 however, when adjusted to take account of the reduction in staff numbers at year end there has been a slight increase in the incident rate. Health and safety incidents are reported to the relevant authorities as required by legislation.  

In response to our commitment to protect, not only our people, but the people in the communities in which we operate, a key focus in 2016 has been the deployment of defibrillators in all our buildings in the UK with 70 or more staff. These will be publicly available case of need in an emergency.  A donation of 11 defibrillators has been made to an Edinburgh based project called St John and The City and these have been installed on Edinburgh trams and in other key locations. 

Additionally, around 8000 staff have already been trained to deliver Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (known as CPR) using the British Heart Foundation’s training kits. This training provides individuals with the skills to potentially save a life wherever they happen to be. One of our Facilities Managers won the Chairman’s Award at the Scottish St Andrews First Aid Awards for her commitment and determination to installing defibrillators and delivering CPR training in a number of our Royal Bank of Scotland branches. In October 2016 Ross McEwan put out a challenge to deliver CPR training to 40,000 RBS staff by end 2017.

We delivered two major remediation programmes in India to ensure adequate life safety arrangements e.g. fire safety, legionella and asbestos management are in place for our colleagues, going over and above local legal requirements. 

Read our health and safety performance in detail [PDF 51KB]

Read our health and safety public policy statement [34KB]


Awards and recognition

The Bank won the 2016 Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Commercial and Business Services Sector Award for Occupational Health and Safety.  This was a significant achievement given that this is only the second time the bank has entered the awards programme.  We also received our second gold award for how we manage the safety of people driving on business.

Through the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) RBS maintained its score of 82 points for Occupational Health and Safety. In 2016 the industry average score was 48.



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 & falls.  Additional training is completed by all people managers and building managers in respect of their health and safety responsibilities.

Specialist training includes:

  • Emergency training including fire marshal and first aid training is carried out in line with local legal requirements.
  • RBS has a driver safety programme which includes risk based training.
  • Specialist health and safety training is carried 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 Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH) Managing Safety 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 our Real Estate Asset Management team, the part of the business that manages distressed assets, training on health and safety protocols is delivered to all new asset managers.



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


2016 case study 1 - Driver Safety – Mobile Bank Fleet

RBS achieved a gold award for Fleet Driving in 2016 from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.


As part of the Bank’s desire to continually improve our H&S controls we arranged for two external audits which were undertaken by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and another by Traffic Law Solutions on our vehicle and driver processes to ensure we are meeting our operator license responsibilities, and understand where we can make further improvements.


Working with our supplier we have introduced driver refresher training for our existing Mobile Bank Drivers. This involves a rolling 3 year programme with scheduling undertaken on a risk-based approach.


In in 2017 a clearer, simpler Driver Handbook is being produced to ensure all our drivers are fully aware of their driving responsibilities.  This includes a signed annual confirmation.  Additionally we are introducing further coaching and support, planned for all our drivers to help them gain a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities and consequences of not adhering to these.


We are now working with our suppliers to review options in order to establish a more robust driver medical referral and license checking review process.



2016 case study 2 - Primary Authority Arrangement with Edinburgh City Council

The Bank and the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) has had a successful Health and Safety (H&S) Lead Authority Partnership in place for over 20 years.  Following the demise of the UK’S H&S Executive’s Lead Authority Partnership Scheme it was agreed that Bank and the CEC would form a statutory Primary Authority Partnership covering occupational health, safety and welfare. The benefits of this are:

◦  Regulatory approval by the lead authority rather than at local level which will support our delivery of consistent H&S policies and procedures.
◦  A single point of contact for H&S enforcement across our portfolio leading to fewer and shorter regulatory visits saving time and money, which is particularly important to our Retail business, enabling them to spend more time with customers.


As part of the partnership arrangements, enforcement officers from CEC undertook a review to determine how H&S arrangements were being applied by the Bank. This review covered a wide range of activity and building types as well as a detailed review of central processes including compliance and property management. They concluded: “It is apparent that health, safety and welfare are very important to RBS. There is an experienced and competent corporate Health and Safety Team in place which is crucial to maintaining and improving current standards.”

2015 case study 1 - Protecting employees and customers from radon

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that has the potential to pose a health risk by causing lung cancer. It is everywhere around us, but some areas have higher levels of the gas than others.


In 2015, we identified 500 RBS premises in the UK, Ireland and offshore, in radon-affected regions. High radon levels were found in 104 of these premises.


Instead of relying entirely on human factors to reduce exposure times, which was likely to be less effective and could have impacted on customer service, RBS invested more than £1 million in technologies to reduce the radon levels below the UK Government’s action level.


We continue to monitor premises in radon-affected areas to make sure that our solutions remain effective.


2015 case study 2 - Health Incident Management

In 2015, we completed a full review of the controls we have in place to manage health incidents. This focussed on pandemic influenza and 14 other serious health conditions that could impact our employees and operations.


Outputs of the review included:


◦  Development of a suite of specialist guidance and improved health information for employees and specialist staff.
◦  An overview of the cleaning requirements that would need to be implemented in order to manage each disease effectively.
◦  Identification of appropriate personal hygiene products that can be distributed during a health incident.


These revised controls will reduce the risk of significant ill health to our staff and increase the robustness of our business continuity arrangements.


Late 2015 International SOS completed a review to evaluate the profile of corporate health across the UK. As part of this review it was concluded that ‘in terms of similar sized organisations in the financial sector within the UK RBS has adopted many best practice health programmes to address their duty of care regarding health to employees, business travellers and expatriates'.


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