Health & safety

We place the highest priority on health and safety, guided by our award-winning, industry-leading behavioural safety programme Challenging Beliefs, Affecting Behaviour

We are committed to a policy of effectively managing all aspects of health, safety and welfare. Our overall approach is based on a concept of care and delivered through Challenging, Beliefs, Affecting Behaviour.

Our objective is to create and maintain an environment where care for our people and those who work with us is our top priority, and the belief that all accidents are preventable prevails.


Our Health and Safety Policy establishes our commitment to effectively managing all aspects of health and safety, and to taking all reasonably practicable measures to continually improve. The policy determines the roles and responsibilities of the Executive Board, divisional Boards and business unit management in delivering health and safety.

It also expresses the Group’s commitment to ensuring that our people’s behaviour is consistent with an improving safety culture.

In addition, we have an Employee Wellbeing Policy, which recognises that our duty of care extends to our people’s physical and mental health.

Ensuring compliance

We ensure our polices are widely communicated, through inductions for new employees, internal training sessions, site notice boards and via our intranet.

HS&S advisors are aligned to each business unit to provide support and advice. They visit sites regularly to ensure compliance with policies and procedures, and produce a Site Safety and Environmental Report, which is communicated to appropriate levels in the business through a database. Any non-compliance identified requires a corrective action plan, including the date by which it will be completed. Statistics and trends in non-compliance are reported to business unit and divisional Board meetings each month. Health and safety performance is also discussed regularly at all levels of the business, from business units to Board level. Further assurance is provided by audits against the requirements for OHSAS 18001, the standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management.

Key Performance Indicators*

Accident Frequency Rate

(RIDDORs per 100,000 hours worked)

Accident Frequency Rate Chart

Accident Incident Rate

(RIDDORs per 1,000 people)

Accident Incident Rate Chart

*This data has been restated to reflect the demerger of our housebuilding businesses in 2020 and only includes construction and Group activities. For full data including the disposed businesses please view our Annual Report 2019.  

We were disappointed to have increased our AFR and AIR scores this year. 

A Prohibition Notice was issued to our specialist subcontractor for unsafe working on one of our projects. We were simultaneously issued with an Improvement Notice to review of our health and safety arrangements. The matter was promptly addressed and closed with the Health and Safety Executive. Furthermore, a detailed internal Corrective Action Plan was developed.

Safety tours by directors are an important part of providing visible leadership, with each director required to complete at least 12. During the year, we completed 1,112 tours in total (2018: 1,052).

Our directors also lead in delivering Safe Behaviour Discussions (SBDs), one of the key tools in our behavioural programme. In an SBD, our staff work with operatives on site to constantly identify an operation’s risks and agree the steps to make it safer. By challenging unsafe acts and reinforcing safe working methods, this partnership approach encourages ownership and embeds behaviours more effectively than just issuing instructions. We completed 74,234 in the year.

We continued to roll out virtual reality training for health and safety, with interactive films covering underground
services, the plant/pedestrian interface and falling objects. This initiative was awarded Best Use of Technology: Health, Safety & Wellbeing at New Civil Engineer magazine’s Techfest. 

Wellbeing continued to be a focus for us and our Assurance Director won the inaugural Individual Champion Award from Mates in Mind while and we were shortlisted once again for the Mates in Mind Impact Awards following our Highly Commended award from 2018. 

The key initiative for 2020 is to streamline the business management system, fully incorporating health and safety into the business’s operational requirements.

Our objective is to create and maintain an environment where care for our people and those who work with us is our top priority, and the belief that all accidents are preventable prevails. Bill Hocking Chief Executive , Galliford Try