Safety, health and environment
Our health and safety policies are underpinned by four main aims, namely a fair and safe way of working, no incidents that harm people, industry-leading occupational health and carbon footprint reduction. These establish the areas that are essential to achieving our main goal, namely, to ensure that all employees enjoy a safe working environment, with no exceptions.
A fair and safe way of working
Our people, our suppliers and subcontractors, and our clients and partners.
To ensure that the safety culture within the business continues to evolve and improve, positively impacting the working environment and reducing the harm to our people.
Leadership, communication, and engagement with our stakeholders, alongside a robust training programme, underpins the Group's safety culture.
We continue to recognise positive safety, health and environmental ('SHE') practices across the Group through articles, case studies and awards in our internal newsletters and employee magazines. Our behavioural safety coaches are encouraged to give positive recognition to those who are improving the safety culture in their departments.
In November 2019, we held our inaugural safety awards to celebrate positive safety behaviours and initiatives by our employees, apprentices, and teams within all our businesses. Owing to the success of the event it will now become an annual occasion.
Our 'just and fair' culture within the behavioural safety programme continues to be underpinned by our six life-saving rules (which include rules for working at height, lifting operations, machine safety, vehicle movements and material stability). The rules clearly communicate to all relevant stakeholders our expectations around high-risk areas of our day-to-day operations to further prevent incidents.
Our health and safety management system is also continually reviewed and improved. The Group's SHE management system conforms to BSEN ISO 45001, and is one of the first in the industry to successfully make the migration from OHSAS 18001.2018. We are also working with specialists to develop web-hosted reporting systems. These will improve efficiency in reporting, notification, investigation and corrective action for health, safety, and environmental events.
No incidents that harm people
Our people, our suppliers and subcontractors, our clients and partners and shareholders.
Operating within the construction industry means many of our activities could be potentially dangerous to our employees and wider stakeholders. If risks are not appropriately identified, monitored and mitigated, these could result in harm to the Group's key stakeholders.
We continue to improve the facilities and working environment in all our factories in addition to engaging with our clients to improve site conditions and working areas. In response to the new guidance and regulations on weld fume management, during the year we set up a focus group, to ensure that we were challenging long-established working practices and that we had a robust process and plan in place to make any necessary changes to support the health and safety of our people. As a result of this review, we have approved further investment in our factories to ensure that weld fumes are being appropriately managed.
Our bespoke behavioural safety programme continues to be integral to our culture change. We offer expert one-to-one coaching on how best to deal with both positive and negative situations. During 2020, our programme focussed on aspects of ownership and accountability for our senior managers. These sessions were run with the aim of encouraging our senior managers to take responsibility of key safety messages and sustain focus on behavioural safety. In the second half of the year, Severfield also initiated the first subcontractor safety day. All our subcontractors were invited to join us and learn about our safety culture and how integral they are to the continued success of the Group's safety programme. Working together with our subcontractors led us to further understand each other's expectations and how we could take a joint approach in promoting our 'safety first' core value. We are also planning to extend this programme into other areas of our supply chain.
Health and safety risks identified are mitigated though the continual review of the Group's procedures and processes. Our executive committee continues to review safety performance monthly. Board members continue to attend safety-focussed site visits, encouraging employees to suggest improvements and share best practice. These visits have shown a clear commitment and drive for SHE policies across all areas of the business, led by our executive management team.
Our focus for 2021 is to continue to develop our workforce and subcontractors, driving positive change to the health and wellbeing of our stakeholders. We will launch our Group training and development brochure, advertising the wide range of courses we offer to promote each individuals' career development.
Industry-leading occupational health
To continually support all our employees, and their families, in all aspects of their lives, not just within working hours.
Our employees' health and wellbeing is of utmost importance to us and we have implemented a range of initiatives to assist in the promotion of positive general and mental health. We signed the Building Mental Health Charter in 2018, pledging to raise awareness and promote mental health. Internally, we have recruited and trained almost 60 mental health first aiders who are now equipped to spot the signs of poor mental health and signpost for assistance where required. The success of this campaign has been demonstrated by the fact that many employees have requested to undertake the training since being made more aware of mental wellbeing.
Our 24-hour confidential employee assistance helpline provides support for a range of common concerns including financial worries, family issues and much more. Initiatives such as this one have become even more important following the outbreak of COVID-19 to help provide assistance to those employees and their families during these uncertain times.
We continue to proactively assess our occupational health provision and management to ensure it is robust and effectively designed. This will reduce healthcare costs, increase productivity, reduce absenteeism, enhance employee morale and help to attract and retain high-quality employees.
Carbon footprint reduction
Our communities, our people, our suppliers and subcontractors, and our clients and partners.
Climate change issues have become more prevalent in recent years for all our stakeholders and working within the construction industry, we recognise that our activities can impact the wider environment.
The Group is committed to addressing climate risk and reducing the lifetime emissions of the assets it builds. Carbon reduction is an important objective of our health and safety strategy, and it forms part of our wider Group sustainability policy. We are committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage and we are proud of our achievements during the year in managing these. The improvements initiated in the year include the switch to 100 per cent green electricity at our two largest production facilities and a reduction in our scope 1 and scope 2 greenhouse gas ('GHG') emissions to 29.8 tonnes of CO2e/£m revenue compared to 33.5 in 2019 (see section on greenhouse gas reporting below).
In 2020, we maintained our 'B' rating in the global evaluation standard, the Climate Disclosure Project ('CDP'), and also received an 'A-' in their new supplier engagement rating, considerably outperforming the industry average of 'D'. The annual rating is based on CDP's evaluation of the Group's strategy, goals and actual emission reductions, as well as transparency and verification of reported data. It assesses the completeness and quality of the Group's measurement and management of our carbon footprint, climate change strategy, risk management processes and outcomes.
The Group continues to be accredited with the Gold Membership Standard of the Steel Construction Sustainability Charter.
We have a new sustainability strategy in development for 2021, as we aim to further reduce our environmental impact and carbon emissions, working collaboratively with customers, industry and the supply chain.
Greenhouse gas emissions reporting
We continued to report the Group's GHG emissions in accordance with UK regulations and the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard methodology. Our reporting boundary remains all material scope 1 and scope 2 emission sources within the boundaries of our consolidated financial statements, verification of which is undertaken against ISO 14064-3 by Carbon Trust. We have also monitored scope 3 emissions associated with raw materials, waste, water, business travel and product transportation.
In 2020 we came to the end of our five-year reduction target period, in which we committed to reducing our scope 1 and scope 2 emissions by 20 per cent. We exceeded this target by reducing our emissions by 21.4 per cent during this period.
In the year, our combined scope 1 and scope 2 GHG emissions, excluding the newly acquired Harry Peers subsidiary, have increased by 1.4 per cent and our energy usage increased by 8.9 per cent, reflecting the Group's higher production activity.
For the year ended 31 March 2020, the Group's global GHG emissions, using a location-based approach, and energy usage were as follows:
|Tonnes of CO2e|
|GHG emissions from:||2020||2019|
|Scope 1 – combustion of fuel and operation of facilities||5,635||5,561|
|Scope 2 – electricity, heat, steam and cooling purchased for own use||3,696||3,641|
|Total CO2e emissions||9,331||9,202|
|Absolute tonnes equivalent CO2e per £m of revenue||29.8||33.5|
|Energy usage from:||2020||2019|
We will continue our relentless focus on safety, health and environmental issues, ensuring that through example and encouragement, we operate ethically and responsibly in everything we do.
The committee's principal role is to review the Group's sustainability strategy, ensuring it is aligned with the Group's vision, mission, strategy and values. During the year, the committee published the Severfield sustainability policy, which includes the followings targets:
- Carbon reduction policy and strategy embedded in the SHE strategy;
- Reduction in carbon intensity by 2021;
- Waste reduction and diversion of waste from landfill;
- Quarterly greenhouse gas reporting using shared database and validation of emissions;
- Customer and supply chain engagement;
- Staff engagement and internal performance reporting; and
- Sustainable procurement with accreditation to ISO 6001.
We have a new sustainability strategy in development for 2021, as we aim to further reduce our carbon emissions, working collaboratively with customers, industry, and the supply chain. The strategy will reflect our sustainability policy established within the year, focussing on all four pillars within the targeted areas of development and reduction.