Health and Safety


Promote diversity and prioritise and nurture the wellbeing and skills development of employees and the communities that they are part of


Our objectives

  • Stop all preventable accidents for employees and contractors.
  • Promote safe behaviours and monitor unsafe behaviours encouraging an enhanced focus on hazard identification and awareness.


SDG 03

Safety first

We require our businesses to prioritise the health and safety of employees and contractors. We are committed to setting high standards and have effective policies, procedures and training in place to support the health, safety and wellbeing of all employees and contractors across the Group.

We recognise the increasing importance of taking a holistic approach to employee wellness, to protect their physical and mental health and social wellbeing, and to foster a positive workplace culture that attracts and retains a highly skilled workforce. We are committed to ensuring that our employees are safe, and we drive our businesses to safeguard employee health and wellbeing across the Group. The Group has a decentralised business model, employing 51,785 people globally (as at 31 December 2020) across Melrose and its eight businesses. In addition to the Group-level expectations for health and safety standards, each business is ultimately responsible for creating and maintaining their own safe and healthy workplaces, implementing operational best practices, and maintaining a robust culture of health and safety awareness, training and performance. This is delivered through the Group health and safety management framework. 

Health and safety management systems are implemented across all of our businesses to ensure that robust policies and procedures are in place to reduce risk and instil an enhanced focus on continuous improvement. Health and safety management systems are supported by internal health and safety effectiveness audits, external assurance reviews conducted by the Group’s insurance brokers, with regular oversight and challenge by the Melrose senior management team.

As at 31 December 2020, 75%(1) of sites within the Group were certified to ISO 45001 or OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series) international standards, with additional relevant sites progressing towards ISO accreditation.

Across the GKN businesses, 100% of sites in GKN Automotive and GKN Powder Metallurgy, and 60% of sites in GKN Aerospace are certified to ISO 45001 or OHSAS 18001 standard. To maintain accreditation, third-party auditing is undertaken within a three-year certification cycle, with annual surveillance audits taking place in between to ensure standards are being maintained. ISO 45001 was introduced in 2018 as the definitive global health and safety standard, replacing OHSAS 18001. A three-year migration period, due to end in March 2021, was extended to 11 September 2021 due to COVID-19. For those sites currently under the OHSAS 18001 standard, programmes are on track to migrate to ISO 45001 by September 2021.

(1) Data has been collected from 99% (by sites) of the Group.

Health and Safety

Group Health and Safety Management Framework

We recognise the importance of taking a holistic approach to employee wellness, to protect their physical and mental health and social wellbeing, and to foster a positive workplace culture that attracts and retains a highly skilled workforce."

Response to COVID-19

Melrose and its businesses took rapid and decisive action in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19. The many actions that were implemented across the businesses to keep our employees safe include the establishment of COVID-19 task forces and steering committees, which have been assigned responsibility for assessing and managing risks and ensuring clear communication to key stakeholders about the pandemic, and delivery of COVID-19 related safety training covering issues such as PPE, social distancing, and hand washing.

Other measures included:

  • global coordination of PPE, including supplies being shared across the businesses, and enhanced procurement of PPE to meet immediate and ongoing requirements;
  • enhanced workplace cleaning and disinfecting protocols;
  • working from home where duties could continue to be performed effectively; 
  • policies and procedures to assist in the identification of workers who had contracted the virus, to ensure they were instructed to stay at home; 
  • engineering and administrative protocols for social distancing; 
  • additional physical barriers introduced where necessary in factories and offices;

  • increased provision of sanitising stations;
  • regular PCR testing at high-risk sites; and
  • return to work protocols, including management of processes to enable distancing and guidelines issued to employees on safe working.

Health and safety training

Health and safety training is a prerequisite to achieving our ‘zero preventable accidents’ goal, with all employees receiving training on a regular basis. Awareness of health and safety issues and the Group’s policy on health and safety is included in induction training for all new joiners across the Group. 45,144(1) (89%) employees across the Group’s businesses received health and safety training in 2020.

All employees within the GKN businesses have access to the online thinkSAFE! training portal and must complete at least one module per quarter. Over 90% compliance was seen in 2020, and the Group will continue to build on this and seek to increase this further. Training modules in 2020 included eight related to COVID-19 including coronavirus control measures, working from home fundamentals, and work-related stress. Our businesses carry out technical health and safety training related to specific business activities. For example, Nortek Global HVAC provides training to staff on topics such as Control of Hazardous Substances, Chemical Exposure Control, Respiratory Protection, and Ergonomics.

(1) Data has been collected from 98% (by headcount) of the Group.


Employees across the Group’s businesses received health and safety training in 2020.

Safety performance

We are focused on cultivating a strong safety culture within our businesses through emphasising the importance of preventing avoidable incidents and implementing near miss reporting, which encourages an enhanced focus on hazard identification and awareness.

Behaviour-based programmes and continuous training and awareness campaigns remain central to the approach of all divisions in improving their safety performance. No fatalities were recorded across employees and contractors in the Group during 2020. To support the Group’s overarching goal of stopping all preventable accidents for employees and contractors, the businesses have set enhanced targets for reducing injuries and occupational illness in the workplace.

Health and Safety

Safety performance targets

Business Target Areas of focus
GKN Aerospace Reduce lost time accident (LTA) rate by 10% per year In 2021, four new health and safety awareness topics (one per quarter) will be added to the thinkSAFE! and thinkGREEN! online training portals, with a goal of achieving an attendance level 5 score, equivalent to over 91% completion by employees. The division’s long-term goal is zero injuries.  
Reduce total injury rate by 10% per year.
GKN Automotive Reduce LTA rate by 20% per year. GKN Automotive is focusing on reducing behaviouralrelated incidents and ensuring the right safety competencies are in place at all levels. 
GKN Powder Metallurgy Reduce accident frequency rate by 10% per year. GKN Powder Metallurgy has implemented a programme of internal audits, corrective action, and root cause elimination. There is a focus on prevention, rather than detection, which is delivered through a culture of performance monitoring.
Reduce accident severity rate by 10% per year
Reduce serious injury rate by 10% per year.
AQH Reduce total recordable accident rate by 26% by 2023. At site level, action-based goals are in place to drive hazard identification and employee engagement. In 2021, the business will implement a Safety Management System Evaluation that will provide a numerical score that correlates with a maturity rating. This data will enable AQH to set further quantitative targets in the future.
Ergotron Medium-term (2-5 years) goal to achieve zero injuries and occupational illnesses. Ergotron has set ambitious goals across the short and medium term. The business is closely tracking near misses in order to proactively reduce safety incidents. 
05.10.17Hvacnortek 0264

Case study

Nortek Global HVAC’s “Accept Only Zero” initiative


Read case study

Health and Safety

Nortek Global HVAC’s “Accept Only Zero” initiative

05.10.17Hvacnortek 0264

The health and safety of our employees is a core strategic priority for the Group. Nortek Global HVAC has implemented an “Accept Only Zero” strategy with respect to health and safety incidents. In 2020, Nortek Global HVAC’s proactive approach to safety resulted in 14,474 Behaviour Based Safety Observations (with feedback), 939 Site Leader Safety Gemba Walks, 6,897 Supervisor weekly inspections, 631 Near Misses reported, 1,108 Job Safety Analysis and Personal Protective Equipment assessments, and 1,454 LOTO/Machine Guarding assessments.

By focusing on leading indicators rather than the traditional lag indicators, the business has seen the number of injuries incurred at its sites decrease by 62% since 2018, and employees have become more engaged across all levels of the business in ensuring that health and safety best practices are adhered to.

Employee wellbeing

The Group recognises the increasing importance of taking a holistic approach to employee wellness by protecting physical health, mental health and social wellbeing. This helps to foster a positive workplace, and to attract and retain a highly skilled workforce. In line with our wider Group health and safety framework, employee wellbeing programmes are implemented at a business level to ensure they are relevant to each business and most impactful.