Transport Safety Officers
Safety (1)

Our ambition is to be the safest mass transit operator in the communities we serve

Aim (the NX Difference)

To deliver our ambition we target:

  • zero responsible fatalities;
  • an annual reduction in FWI/million miles; and
  • the leading safety credential in each market.

vehicles fitted with Lytx DriveCam safety system


digital fatigue alert systems fitted on UK coach

Approach (the NX Promise)

Safety remains our top priority. We seek to achieve our ambition through clear process and policies, investment in technology and systems, and a culture that prioritises safety.

Our Group CEO has overall responsibility for safety, supported by the Group Safety Director divisional leadership teams.

Progress against our ambition

During 2020, we continued to progress and update our well established safety systems as well as introduce additional procedures and measures in response to the pandemic.

Our Driving Out Harm initiative, introduced in 2011, encompasses our policies and procedures and drives our safety culture over time. As part of its progression, in 2017 we launched five new Global Safety Policies (GSPs) covering a number of driver and vehicle standards with a target to fully implement these by the end of 2020. Despite the additional work needed to address Covid-19, we achieved this target.

Bus Cleaning

We also continued the roll-out of the Lytx DriveCam driver monitoring and coaching system across our global fleet, and extended risk profiling which creates risk scores for individuals. In UK coach, we were able to introduce a driver fatigue alert system into more than 400 vehicles. This has already lead to a 50% reduction in fatigue-related safety events.

To measure our safety performance we use a Fatalities and Weighted Injuries (FWI) index, based on a approach used by the UK rail industry. During 2020 we adjusted the index to remove non-responsible minor injuries, and have restated the prior year figures to reflect this.

Our score for 2020 was 1.824 (0.004 on a normalised million-mile basis) which is marginally higher that the score for 2019, which at 1.780 (or 0.003 on a normalised million-mile basis) was our best ever FWI score. Whilst this higher score is disappointing it is significantly better than our historical performance.

Keeping our community safe

Safety systems

Safety is our priority. Ultimate responsibility for managing our performance rests with Ignacio Garat our Chief Executive Officer and the Managing Directors/Chief Executive Officers of each our business divisions.

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Support is provided by the Group Safety Director Alison Forster. All are members of the Group Executive where safety performance is reported monthly. Safety performance is reported regularly to the Board. 

Global Safety Standards

Our approach applies our Global Safety Standards which set out clear behaviours which we expect all our staff to demonstrate at all times. They set out minimum requirements in 12 key areas, including competence and fitness, risk assessment, accident investigation and safety audit.

Group Safety Plan

The Group develops a Safety Strategy every five years which includes setting objectives and quantifying targets. Key activity areas are highlighted to deliver targeted improvements. As part of this process we undertake peer group comparison analysis to support the organisation in striving to be "best in class". The Strategy is reviewed and updated annually and includes the setting of annual targets and the development of initiatives to address specific issues.

The Chief Executive or Managing Director of each division has full responsibility for the management of safety within that division. Support is provided by Group operations where this is appropriate and necessary. Each divisional head must ensure that the business complies with national and local requirements in relation to its safety policies.

They are also tasked with ensuring that the division complies with Group requirements such as the Global Safety Standards and the Golden Rules. They are required to ensure that each division applies local, national and industry-based standards for the development and maintenance of safety management systems and to provide comprehensive resources as required to meet the safety needs of the business.

An assurance process is in place which includes annual independent safety audits in each division and an annual independent audit of the Corporate Governance of safety.

Continuous improvement in safety is very important to the Board, so each year we carry out an independent external review of our safety programme. This review is presented to the Group Executive and Board and actions arising from recommendations are monitored by the Chief Executive.

Driving Out Harm

Driving Out Harm, our Group-wide safety initiative, was launched in 2011 with the aim of embedding a Global Safety Culture throughout our business divisions.

Its priorities are:

  • Driving safely
  • Working safely
  • Leading safely
  • Ensuring we have safe vehicles

Its objective is the continued reduction in harm to people, and also to property.

Underpinning Driving Out Harm is the belief that safety is a personal responsibility of every employee. We have a set of Golden Rules of Safety which set out personality responsibilities, and everyone is required to comply with them.

Find out more about how we are Driving Out Harm.

Case studies

Find out more about the lengths we go to, to keep our customers safe.

Safety performance

Our Group performance in 2020 demonstrates the benefit of our systems, policies and investment.

Performance, reports and data
Corporate statement on proposals to ban old tyres

The DfT has announced plans to ban tyres aged 10 years or older to the front wheels of lorries, buses and coaches, and all wheels of minibuses, in England, Scotland and Wales.

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Having worked alongside the Tyred Campaign on this issue, National Express fully supports banning old tyres. However, we believe the legislation should go further to include a ban on fitting tyres over 10 years old in twin configuration, which is currently excluded from the proposals.

The safety of our customers, employees and the public is our number one priority. We recognise what a huge responsibility it is to carry people around the country day in, day out. This means we only do what is safe, and we stop any unsafe behaviour.

Tyre safety is a critical part of this. Our vehicles’ tyres are already never more than 8 years old and we regularly carry out stringent safety checks of the condition of our tyres.

As well as our own business, we want the bus and coach industry as a whole to meet rigorous safety standards. 

Banning tyres over 10 years old will significantly improve the safety standards of passenger carrying operators and reduce the risk of serious tyre-related accidents. We therefore encourage Parliament to pass this important legislation at the earliest opportunity.

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