Page 1: Introduction
Organisations have to establish priorities in order to help them achieve their objectives. Health and safety is particularly important for an organisation that provides public transport. Any organisation that carries passengers must take responsibility for them. This case study shows how FirstGroup, the world's leading transport company, has developed a safety culture. This culture places customer and employee safety at the heart of its activities.
First has grown from a small bus company in Scotland to an organisation with a turnover of more than £6 billion. It operates mainly in the UK and North America. It employs around 136,000 staff and transports some 2.5 billion passengers a year. First is the UK's largest bus operator. It operates one in five of all local bus services. It is also the UK's largest rail operator. First operates four passenger rail franchises - First Capital Connect, First Great Western, First ScotRail and First TransPennine Express. It also operates First Hull Trains and freight services through First GBRf which transports loads as diverse as mail and coal throughout the UK. Within North America First has four divisions, including its yellow school bus operations and Greyhound, the famous inter-city bus service.
When an organisation transports as many people as First, it takes on a huge responsibility for the safety of these customers. It also has a responsibility for the safety of its employees and contractors. This is why safety and customer service are the core values for First. Values incorporate the beliefs and principles that steer the actions of a business.
First constantly seeks to improve the safety culture within the business. It does this by applying a zero tolerance approach to unsafe practices. For example, First introduced a ban on using mobile phones, including hands-free, for any employee while driving on company business. By improving working practices and working conditions First aims to set and meet the highest possible safety standards for passengers and staff. Its ethos known as Injury Prevention is adhered to across all of First's operations. An Injury Prevention handbook is carried by all staff. In addition to this, Injury Prevention incorporates training, monitoring and reporting procedures for safety issues. It is designed to embed the safety culture into all areas of the business.