Health and safety | RBS

This page will be refreshed during H1 2019

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 2017, the total number of incidents (accidents, occupational diseases, dangerous occurrences, fires and natural cause incidents) reduced by c.8% compared with 2016. 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. 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 has since built on this drive by challenging the business to train 40,000 employees in the life-saving skill of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (known as CPR). More detail on this initiative is available below in our 2017 case study.

Following our delivery of two major remediation programmes (the health and safety framework, and fire safety) in India in 2016, an ‘in country’ validation exercise in 2017 confirmed the completion and sustainability of the actions we have taken. Additionally, our Insurers carried out audits in two of our major premises in India. Both reviews concluded that there is now an adequate framework for the management of health and safety.

In response to an increasingly flexible working environment and work arrangements, a new approach to fire marshalling in our large offices has been developed and agreed with our Primary Authority. 

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, RBS received a major award in the Commercial and Business Services Sector. These competitive sector awards recognise the organisations that have demonstrated the best health and safety management performance within specific industry sectors.  We also received our third consecutive gold award for how we manage the safety of people driving on business.

Through the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), RBS achieved a score of 76 points for Occupational Health and Safety (in 2017 the industry average score was 42).



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.
  • RBS 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 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.


2017 case study 1 - Training staff in the life-saving skill of CPR

The British Heart Foundation’s Nation of Lifesavers campaign aims to introduce a life-saving skill into the community and improve survival rates for out of hospital cardiac arrests. In support of the campaign, RBS 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 since 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.

2017 case study 2 - 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 the Grenfell Tower is the design and escape strategy, which is different for domestic dwellings than for 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.


RBS’ 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 RBS are robust and that neither the business or more importantly its personnel are at any great risk’. 

2016 case study 1 - Driver Safety – Mobile Bank Fleet

In 2016, RBS achieved a gold award for Fleet Driving 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 three year programme with scheduling undertaken on a risk-based approach.


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  for all our drivers to help them gain a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities, and the consequences of not adhering to these.


We are now working with our suppliers to review options 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 the 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.”

This page will be refreshed during H1 2019

Set Tab for lightbox