We want to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our customers, our colleagues and all our visitors. This is a Group-wide focus with stringent policies and procedures implemented at all levels of the business.

Policies and procedures

Our Board is responsible for the creation and implementation of our Health and Safety Policy and procedures. Health and safety is a standard agenda item at every Board and monthly Executive Board meeting, supported by a monthly report and a formal annual presentation from the Group’s Health and Safety Manager.

Covid-safe premises

Our priority in FY21 was continuing to ensure that our premises are Covid-safe for our colleagues, customers and visitors. We continued to adopt at least the minimum UK Government requirements, as supplemented by the British Retail Consortium industry standard. In the year this included the implementation of workplace Covid testing across all sites. We continued to adopt a ‘safety first’ approach, including for example maintaining two-metre distancing requirements for colleagues despite the guidelines being relaxed. We are pleased that we consistently received good feedback from colleagues and a 95% ‘How safe did you feel?’ rating from our customers.

Personal security

Another priority was to support the personal security of our store colleagues, to address the regrettable societal increase in aggressive and, sometimes, violent public behaviour. We successfully introduced body-worn cameras and a radio assistance system for colleagues in our stores and provided bespoke training for colleagues. Our CEO, Nick Wilkinson, also supported the BRC call for a statutory offence for assaulting, threatening, or abusing a retail worker to be introduced.

Supplier H&S

Health and safety management responsibility in our supply chain is explained in our Ethical Code of Conduct and sets out requirements for all our suppliers. Compliance with this policy is monitored through our ethical auditing programme and ongoing due diligence which includes fully unannounced spot checks, see Responsible manufacturing and sourcing.

Monitoring and performance

Details of accidents, including those which we are required to report to regulatory authorities (RIDDORs), and health and safety audit results are sent to our Executive Board and Group Board every month. In FY21, our reportable accidents under RIDDOR reduced to 27 (FY20: 31).

  1. Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR).