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Safety is everybody's business

 

We are committed to providing healthy and secure environments, ensuring the delivery of compliant and safe spaces for people to work, live and socialise, with health and wellbeing front and centre of our approach.

Our Health and Safety strategy

We are committed to maintaining the highest standards of health and safety across both our developed and managed portfolios and aim to be an industry leader, setting the best standards of health, safety and wellbeing for our communities and people. We continue to promote proactive improvements and positive attitudes towards health and safety, ensuring alignment with our strategy which helps to promote a collaborative approach with our employees, customers and supply chain.

Our health and safety strategy, approved by the Board, aims to facilitate continuous improvement in health and safety management based on five pillars identifying the common areas of business risk. We believe the strategy and pillars support us in embedding a positive approach to the business and those that we work with on health and safety that goes beyond core compliance.

 

Keeping our working environment and properties safe

The Chief Financial & Operating Officer has Board responsibility for health and safety, with the Director of Corporate Finance providing oversight. The Head of Health and Safety is responsible for the delivery of proactive health and safety management in accordance with our health and safety strategy and oversees all statutory health and safety compliance matters for the Group. The health and safety team oversees operational health and safety delivery and reports directly to the Head of Health and Safety.

Operational day-to-day health and safety management within our managed properties is overseen by our Occupier Services and Property Services team. An online health and safety management system supports all our health and safety arrangements and is used to assist with the monitoring and reporting of trends as well as to support compliance adherence across the portfolio.

Regular third-party auditing is undertaken at our properties, covering:

  • Health and safety
  • Fire safety
  • Customer fire safety checks
  • Water safety
  • Asbestos
  • Air quality
  • Disability access survey

The results of these audits are made available to our customers, and we ensure that where actions are identified, these are dealt with promptly. Oversight of the completion of documented actions is provided by our Head of Property Services and Head of Occupier Services with their teams, as well as by our Health and Safety Committee which meets quarterly and is chaired by our Chief Financial & Operating Officer. 

We have improved the monitoring of health and safety across the portfolio and all our assets by incorporating a set of proactive Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) allowing us to measure health and safety performance.  We use these KPIs to drive improvement on leadership, and improvement on risk ratings which have been assigned to our assets. We also provide increased refresher training and monitored performance of our supply chain with our service partners. 

Part of our proactive approach to health and safety also includes understanding the impact that climate and culture have in relation to our health and safety strategy. We benchmark internally by asking our employees via an engagement survey if they believe we support them on health and safety matters. Encouragingly in 2021, 95% of employees agreed that GPE cares about their health and safety. While this remains a positive result, we will continue to work with each team to ensure that they have the technical support they require throughout the year to make certain that health and safety remains top of everyone’s agenda.

On-site health and safety

We work closely with our supply chain and expect them to comply with all health and safety legislation and codes of best practice specific to their industry. Every year, we work with suppliers to ensure we understand their health and safety culture and practices and that they remain focused on driving a positive health and safety culture, including an awareness of the impact this can have on reducing stress and anxiety in the workplace, thus improving mental health. In addition, we ensure, via competency checks, that every contractor who provides a service to GPE has the correct skillset of experience, training, resources, and capabilities to undertake the tasks or projects assigned to them.

We work with our principal designers and principal contractors to ensure proactive health and safety management is in place throughout the design process and into construction. Independent health and safety reviews are periodically commissioned for our development sites to monitor health and safety standards on site.

For each development project, consultants and principal contractors undergo stringent competency checks prior to appointment. Health and safety is discussed as a standing item on the agenda for all project management meetings, with principal contractors required to present monthly health and safety statistics for review.

We meet independently with our contractors at senior management level to discuss health and safety trends across the industry. Working alongside our contractors, we also work to ensure that site employees have easy access to occupational health provision.

Upon completion of each development and prior to handover, our Project Managers ensure that the Occupier Services Managers are well briefed on any site-specific health and safety risks, ensuring a smooth transition and that appropriate risk transfer is understood and managed effectively within the areas of our control.

In cases where we refurbish properties with our customers in situ, our Project teams, Occupier Services Managers and the Health and Safety team work collaboratively to minimise disruption to customers and to make certain that any health and safety implications are fully understood.

Understanding accident and incidents

We recognise that accidents and incidents may occur within the working environment and where this is the case, we support and collaborate closely with our employees, customers, and supply chain to understand and analyse what occurred in order to maximise opportunities for improvement so that any future risk can be mitigated and to ensure that a non-worker blame culture is maintained.

We also include the perspective from the “worker” to identify opportunities for improvement which may result in additional control measures and training being implemented.

Where a reportable accident or incident on-site or a near miss with the potential to result in a reportable accident or incident occurs, notification of the occurrence is reported to us by the contractor within a 24-hour period. We then work closely with the contractor to investigate the incident, allowing them sufficient time for investigation. On close out of the investigation, we aim to provide an opportunity for improvements to be implemented and, in some cases, create case studies which can be shared with the industry or across our business.

All accidents and incidents reported from our development sites and investment properties are reviewed regularly by the Executive Committee and by the Board as appropriate.

Health and Safety Incidents by Year*

2022

2021

2020

Enforcement notices or fines received

0

0

0

EMPLOYEES

   

 

Work related fatalities

0

0

0

Reportable injuries/incidents

0

0

0

First aid injuries

1

0

3

Number of days off due to accident and incidents

0

0

0

AT OUR OCCUPIED BUILDINGS

   

 

Work related fatalities

0

0

0

Reportable injuries/incidents

1

0

2

First aid injuries

8

4

14

AT OUR DEVELOPMENTS

     

Work related fatalities

0 0 0

Reportable injuries/incidents

1 0 4

First aid injuries

4 4 14

* to 31 March

Legislative changes

We actively monitor any changes to legislation, ensuring that they are promptly communicated to relevant employees, with procedures amended accordingly. Comprehensive reviews of all policies and procedures on our management system are undertaken periodically to ensure existing legislation is adhered to, and any known deviations that have been highlighted are included within the review.

Health and wellbeing

We recognise that in addition to addressing how we can improve the health and wellbeing of customers within our buildings, it is also essential that we have policies and procedures in place to support our own employees.

All GPE employees have access to an Employee Assistance Programme offering 24-hour confidential access to counselling, legal advice, an online health portal and occupational health support which can be used as and when required.

Employee health and wellbeing policies and a flexible working policy are also in place. We currently have 11 mental health first-aiders representing a cross section of the business who have been trained and qualified to recognise mental ill health and help people find the support they need.

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