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Business review

Corporate Responsibility Review

Acting responsibly towards all our stakeholders is an important commitment for the Group.

We are committed to acting responsibly towards all our stakeholders and to taking a leadership position within our sector. We publish information about our performance on our website and summarise the year’s activities here. Our Corporate Responsibility Review is structured in accordance with our policies on safety leadership, carbon reduction, respect for the environment, excellence in delivery and working with our community. Information relating to our people is included in the Human Resources Review and information on corporate responsibility governance and business conduct can be found in the Corporate Governance section.

Safety leadership

We remain committed to health and safety improvement beyond that required by law in the regions in which we operate. We continue to work with industry through national forums such as the Construction Industry Council (CIC) and the Consultants Health and Safety Forum, as well as attending forums for specific clients and industry sectors.

Working with the Consultants Health and Safety Forum and Construction Skills, we have developed and launched an international health and safety assessment in our Asia Pacific, Europe and Middle East regions. No such assessment existed previously outside the UK. The assessment is based on the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) health and safety test which is used in the UK.

Due to the nature of our work in the UK, where we have people working directly on the roads and railways, we face some significantly different safety risks compared to our operations elsewhere in the world. Last year, we reported that our highways and transportation business in the UK set the industry standard for designing out risk. This demonstration of good practice has now been recognised by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and is available through its website Our highways business in the UK has also been raising awareness of the risks associated with working on highways. We have produced a DVD for haulage companies to raise awareness of the role impact protection vehicles play in protecting road workers. This DVD was featured on the BBC’s ‘Inside Out’ East of England programme on BBC One and BBC HD.

In the Middle East we have achieved significant recognition from our client for our delivery of an environment, health and safety management system (EHSMS) for Al Ain Municipality in the UAE. The EHSMS for the municipal infrastructure and assets sector has been certified to the international standards OHSAS 18001 and ISO 14001.

We continue to improve safety leadership across the Group. Last year more than 170 senior managers in the UK attended our safety leadership course. Directors continue to undertake safety tours across the Group. Our rail business in the UK has had further success with its ‘Safe by Choice’ behavioural programme which has seen a 50% reduction in minor accidents. In February, the programme won a second national industry award.

Our safety performance

It is with deepest regret that we report on the fatality of a staff member and serious injury to a contractor’s staff member that occurred at Houston Airport, USA while we were overseeing the construction of an Automated People Mover. We have carried out our own investigation, in addition to cooperating with the relevant authorities and we have subsequently implemented changes to systems and procedures as a consequence.

We report accidents and incidents for staff, contractors and joint ventures, and in situations where we are principal contractor. The Accident Incident Rate (AIR) is used to measure our accident performance for staff and contractors. We set our own challenging AIR benchmarks based on a reduction from the previous year of 5% for office, engineering and for construction. The AIR benchmarks (number of accidents per 100,000 staff or contractors) for 2011 are 132 for office, 273 for engineering and 1,373 for construction.

The overall performance was within our AIR benchmarks, with the exception of staff in the engineering category where it was just exceeded. We are pleased with the improvements made for staff in the construction category, reflecting our continued effort to improve safety. Our AIR performance continues to be better than the industry averages compiled by the HSE in its Labour Force Survey (see figure 1). We continue to actively encourage the reporting of incidents and near misses as a positive step towards accident prevention. This year 1,814 near misses were reported compared to 1,227 in 2010 demonstrating increased awareness of the importance of safety reporting.

Figure 1: Accident Incident Rate (AIR)1

Office Engineering Construction
HSE Labour Force Survey2 280 400 2,040
Atkins benchmark 132 273 1,373
2010/11 50 276 1,176
2009/10 35 114 1,408
2008/09 89 147 1,833
2007/08 38 178 1,042
2006/07 12 65 995
2005/06 104 151 556
2004/05 59 235 2,763
2010/11 0 22 769
2009/10 259 45 668
2008/09 132 0 619
2007/08 0 0 708
2006/07 382 441 1,221
2005/06 0 124 293
2004/05 0 124 317
  1. AIR = number of accidents per 100,000 staff or contractors.
  2. HSE Labour Force Survey results are the three-year average results for occupations: administrative and secretarial for Office, science and technology for Engineering, and construction trades for Construction.

We have taken a more proactive approach to measuring our safety performance with the introduction of the Atkins safety maturity model. This supports our vision for safety to become totally embedded within our culture and become a natural consideration. The maturity model introduces four levels on the journey to natural safety, starting at unaware, moving through compliance to proactive, and then reaching the natural stage. Each business can benchmark against the model to determine its maturity level and therefore identify the improvements required to move to the next level. Last year, we established through a benchmarking exercise, that our businesses worldwide are either at compliance or proactive levels.

All our operations, apart from those that we recently acquired in North America1, are covered by the OHSAS 18001 specification.

Atkins Limited in the UK achieved a Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Gold award for the second year, and our asset management business in the UK achieved an Order of Distinction for the 24th year running. We have also achieved a Gold RoSPA award for outstanding safety performance through ACKtiv, a nuclear joint venture that we are part of alongside Carillion and Jacobs.

Regulatory activity

During the year, we recorded 11 visits by enforcement authorities. An improvement notice was served on Atkins Limited in the UK. This related to undertaking the construction design and management coordinator role which requires the introduction of a system of management and control to ensure information is passed from client to principal contractor. A detailed investigation was carried out and improvements were made to our internal processes. The feedback from HSE is that we exceeded its expectations in addressing the issues and no further action was taken.

In North America, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued three regulatory citations but these are currently being contested through the formal dispute process.

We have not been prosecuted for any breaches of health and safety regulations.

Our safety target





Safety in design

Quarterly review with business

Number of red/amber/green lists developed (industry sector/engineering discipline)

2011 data

Measure Atkins safety culture in the non-UK regions

SHE culture survey

The use of four dimensions of Atkins safety culture - management commitment, staff engagement, training and competence, and communication

2009 data

Progress summary

The safety target for last year was to measure our safety culture in the UK and Bangalore. Safety, health and environment (SHE) culture surveys were undertaken as part of the two-year Group wide rolling programme, which gave us the opportunity to compare the information with previous surveys.

Over 4,100 employees responded to both surveys. When compared to the previous surveys for the UK (November 2008) and the Bangalore office (May 2009) the results are similar. Our commitment to safety remains strong and we have a positive safety culture.

In 2011/12 the survey will be extended to our non-UK locations to reflect our geographic footprint.

  1. Following the acquisition of PBSJ on 1 October 2010, a phased three-year programme was developed for our North America region to embed Atkins’ corporate responsibility policies.
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