Health and Safety

Our Health, Safety and Environment function is led by our Group HR Director, who has responsibility for these three elements across the Oxford Instruments Group. The Group HR Director is supported by our Groupo Health, Safety and Environment Manager, who is responsible for ensuring that day-to-day activities are carried out safely and that we have the capabilities, infrastructure and processes in place to manage our health, safety and environment matters effectively across the Group.

Three of our largest sites are certified to ISO 14001, ISO 9001 and OHSAS 18001 management system standards. These sites are subjected to twice-yearly external auditing from their nominated certification body.

Health and wellbeing

This year we expanded our Mental Health First Aider programme. Having rolled it out in the UK last year, a number of colleagues across all of our US sites volunteered this year to attend an internationally recognised training programme and to act as a first point of contact for any colleagues who are experiencing mental health issues or emotional distress, either themselves or in their families. This service complements our Employee Assistance Programmes and the physical health checks we already provide at many of our sites.

Many of our sites organise wellbeing activities such as mindfulness sessions, on-site massages and Pilates classes. We encourage staff to set up walking groups and informal running and cycling clubs to help increase physical activity and exercise, and this year teams of colleagues walked sections of the Great Wall of China, did a virtual hike of the John Muir trail in California and admired the bluebells in the Oxfordshire woods.

For sites with canteens, we have worked with our catering providers to expand the range of healthy meal options that are offered and to use local produce in their menus. Many of our sites have also organised fresh fruit deliveries for staff, using local suppliers and produce where possible.

Global accident figures remain at a low level

The total number of accidents recorded worldwide during 2019/20 reduced slightly from 53 to 52. Five of the accidents were classed as serious, which was the same number as in the previous year. Three of the serious accidents were reportable under UK RIDDOR regulations, as they resulted in more than seven days' absence from work. Over the past five years, the total number of accidents for our ongoing businesses has been relatively flat with an average of 51 accidents each year.

When looked at in relation to the number of accidents per 1,000 employees, the average number of the last five years is 33 accidents/1,000 employees. This benchmarks positively against industry norms in the regions in which we operate.

The majority of the accidents recorded were very minor in nature but we are committed to achieving, promoting and maintaining a high standard of health and safety for all our employees and everyone involved in, or affected by, our activities. Recording even the smallest cuts and abrasions helps us to identify and remove hazards before they can escalate into more serious accidents.

accident rates for 2019-20

Investing in health and safety

To raise employee awareness of hazards and risks and to maintain our focus on preventative measures, this year we launched our global "Push for Zero" programme. We want all of our employees, wherever they work, to feel safe in their working environments. As part of this programme, we launched Shield, our new health and safety software platform and app.

This new system has been rolled out across the Group manufacturing businesses and offices to make it easier for employees to report hazards, near misses and accidents. We have already seen a significant increase in the number of hazards and near misses being reported, with a total of 523 being reported during 2019 against 145 the previous year.  

We have raised the target for reporting hazards, observations and near misses to 750 for the current year.