Health and Safety

Being able to deliver Oxford Biomedica’s products and services both in a safe and sustainable manner is the number one priority. Via the systematic evaluation of all activities, Oxford Biomedica ensures that significant risks are identified and controlled to minimise the risk to employees and anyone else who may be affected by Oxford Biomedica’s acts or omissions. Oxford Biomedica endeavours to maintain its facilities and equipment to the highest standards.

Oxford Biomedica’s Health and Safety Management System covers all aspects of its work, from working with biological materials, to use of display screen equipment. The Safety Management System has continued to evolve and grow with the organisation. A new incident management system, introduced in late 2020, enables Oxford Biomedica to improve the reporting, investigation and tracking of actions. Oxford Biomedica has moved risk assessments, policies and procedures that were previously locally managed to a fully electronic system that provides a one-stop-shop for employees’ health and safety needs and Oxford Biomedica has initiated training for all employees on the new system.

Oxford Biomedica has taken steps to improve consultation in developing policies and procedures to ensure they adequately reflect working practices. Improving employee engagement is a key area of focus. Oxford Biomedica completed a Safety Climate Survey in the first quarter of 2020 to actively engage all staff and identify areas for improvement. The survey enabled Oxford Biomedica to assess its performance against eight factors that contribute to a positive safety culture, and to benchmark externally. The eight factors were Accident and near miss reporting; Organisational commitment; Health and Safety oriented behaviours; Health and Safety trust; Usability of procedures; Engagement in Health and Safety; Peer group attitude; and Resources for Health and Safety. Results were encouraging and aligned well with Oxford Biomedica’s existing improvement plans. The results and the improvement plans were shared with employees to keep them informed and engaged in the change programme.

Oxford Biomedica continues to have a first-class safety record, as Oxford Biomedica has continued the trend of having no major injuries. Health and Safety is a standing item on the Board’s agenda and Oxford Biomedica has taken steps to improve the metrics used to monitor performance in this important part of the business. Oxford Biomedica is committed to meet both the letter and spirit of all Health and Safety regulation and best practice.

For more details of Oxford Biomedica’s 2021 ESG people objectives see page 55 of the Oxford Biomedica Annual Report.

Engagement

Oxford Biomedica established a Workforce Engagement Panel (WEP) in 2020. The WEP is made up of employees representing all levels and functions across Oxford Biomedica. The purpose of the WEP is to enable employees to discuss issues of importance to them and ensure that the senior leaders and Oxford Biomedica’s Board hear the views of the workforce. Three meetings took place in 2020, including one meeting with Stuart Henderson, the Board’s designated Non-Executive Director, to facilitate direct discussion and engagement at Board level. Six meetings are planned for 2021, two of which will be attended by Stuart Henderson.

Oxford Biomedica is committed to making sure that it regularly asks employees for their views and suggestions on a variety of issues, including leadership, communication, safety and wellbeing. Four employee engagement pulse surveys were completed in 2020, one focused on employee communication and three focused on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. These surveys provide a rich insight into how employees are feeling, their concerns and their suggestions for future improvement. A number of actions resulting from the surveys were put in place throughout the year, such as rolling out mental wellbeing tools and offering lateral flow COVID-19 testing to employees, and the overall results were shared with employees. The results throughout 2020 show positive improvements tracking across all areas covered in the survey.

As part of the 2021 ESG people objectives a broader Group-wide employee engagement survey is planned for the third quarter of 2021, but is dependent on how the COVID-19 situation evolves. In addition, quarterly pulse surveys will continue to run during 2021, to ensure that Oxford Biomedica is listening to employees and taking appropriate action.

A new employee engagement strategy has been developed and approved by the SET. The strategy will be implemented throughout 2021. The strategy will create further opportunity for senior leadership visibility, more frequent two-way communication across a variety of channels, including internal social media and virtual events, and will enable Oxford Biomedica to keep all employees up to date and engaged as the business grows.

For more details of Oxford Biomedica’s 2021 ESG people objectives see page 55 of the Oxford Biomedica Annual Report.

Training and Development

The Group invests in the development of its people at all levels. Every employee has a development plan, to ensure they are supported to meet our corporate objectives and effectively achieve their individual performance objectives. This includes identifying learning and development needs and an individualised programme with the support of their manager. Progress is reviewed continuously with line managers.

In addition to this, Oxford Biomedica has a modular Management Development Programme which is offered to all managers at Oxford Biomedica. Managers attend modules in various management related topics over a period of several months, and are given support to embed their learning throughout the programme.

Equality, Inclusion and Diversity

Oxford Biomedica is committed to building a more inclusive organisation where all forms of diversity are celebrated. Oxford Biomedica aims to assess and evolve its approach so employees can confidently be their true selves at work and ensure internal processes and culture promote equality of opportunity for all.

The Board and senior management are fully committed to providing equal opportunities for all employees, irrespective of race, gender, religion, national origin, disability or any other personal characteristics, and embrace diversity in all forms.

Oxford Biomedica has an Equal Opportunities Policy aimed at providing equal opportunities in employment and avoiding unlawful discrimination in employment and against third party associates. The company also has a Dignity at Work policy in order to create a work environment free of harassment and bullying, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

In 2020, Oxford Biomedica organised an initial focus group, facilitated by external diversity and inclusion specialists, to help Oxford Biomedica create a purpose, ambition and vision for Equality, Inclusion and Diversity within Oxford Biomedica. The next steps for 2021 are to share these outputs with the WEP and engage a broader employee group to turn this proposed strategy into a one to three-year action plan. This will include raising awareness and educating employees through the rollout of unconscious bias training during 2021. Further details of the 2021 ESG people objectives are set out on page 55 of the Oxford Biomedica 2020 Annual Report.

The table shows the gender split across the organisation as at 31 December 2020:

 
Male
Female
Total
% Male
% Female

Board including non-Executive Directors

 

8

 

1

 

9

 

89%

 

11%

Senior managers and direct reports

21

16

37

57%

43%

All other employees

311

324

635

49%

51%

Total

340

341

681

50%

50%

 

Gender Pay Gap Report

Under new government legislation that came into force in 2017. Oxford Biomedica is required to publish an annual gender pay gap report.  The gender pay gap is the difference between the average earnings of men and women, expressed relative to men’s earnings. The Gender Pay Gap Report 2017 can be downloaded here. The Gender Pay Gap Report 2018 can be downloaded here. The Gender Pay Gap Report 2019 can be downloaded here. The Gender Pay Gap Report 2020 can be downloaded here.

The Gender Pay Gap Report for 2020 has been prepared by Oxford Biomedica and we are pleased to report a continued increase in representation of female employees at the more senior levels of the organisation. This has had a positive impact on the Group’s mean and median gender pay ratio.

Health and Wellbeing

The health and wellbeing of all of employees is of upmost importance. Oxford Biomedica’s aim is to help employees feel good at work and at home by fostering a positive health culture. Empowering colleagues to take personal accountability for their wellbeing is important and Oxford Biomedica supports colleagues by providing access to a number of wellbeing resources and initiatives throughout the year.

In March 2020, Oxford Biomedica received tragic news that a colleague had taken his own life. Many of the staff and colleagues were impacted by this issue and as a consequence Oxford Biomedica’s wellbeing strategy for 2020 focused on mental wellbeing. Oxford Biomedica recognised that the mental health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic further increased the importance of this. During the year, Oxford Biomedica incorporated mental health training within the Management Development Programme, providing line managers with tools and resources to help them support their employees. Oxford Biomedica have trained 16 staff in Mental Health First Aid.

In line with the 2020 Responsible Business objectives, Oxford Biomedica offered a number of online workshops to the whole workforce, including: ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ and ‘Understanding Anxiety and Tools to Manage It’ delivered by local charity, Oxfordshire Mind, and ‘What is Mindfulness, and how can it support your wellbeing?’ delivered again by a local contact, Mindfulness in Oxford. Oxford Biomedica was delighted to welcome Dr. Lindsay Browning, sleep expert and Chartered Psychologist, from Trouble Sleeping who hosted an insightful session into the importance of good sleep.

Oxford Biomedica offered staff a Healthy Minds Catch-up with its Occupational Health Advisor, a Registered Mental Health Nurse. In addition, all employees are covered by BUPA Private Medical Insurance, which includes direct access to Mental Health support without seeing a GP.

Oxford Biomedica was delighted to receive the ‘Commitment to Workplace Wellbeing’ award from Oxfordshire Mind for the various wellbeing initiatives offered to employees in 2020.

In 2021, Oxford Biomedica’s wellbeing strategy will continue to focus on mental wellbeing. The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised that whilst Oxford Biomedica cannot control the external environment around us, Oxford Biomedica can support employees and provide them with the tools to manage their personal response to these external factors. Oxford Biomedica will therefore have a particular focus on resilience in 2021 and will be working with external storytellers whose stories all bring to life the umbrella theme ‘Resilience’ whilst equipping employees with key takeaways for them to implement into their personal and professional lives.

Oxford Biomedica will be aligning other initiatives to key mental health awareness campaigns, via the Workplace Wellbeing Hub, including Mental Health Awareness Week, Suicide Prevention Day and International Stress Awareness Week.

Through information gathered from the pulse surveys, Oxford Biomedica recognises that a variety of wellbeing offerings is important to employees across the business. Throughout 2021, Oxford Biomedica will be offering a variety of other wellbeing initiatives with plans including maintaining a healthy lifestyle, focusing on nutrition, hydration and activity, promoting summer health awareness and exploring alternative therapy offerings (COVID-19 permitting).

Oxford Biomedica is enhancing the employees ‘Your Reward in 2021’ benefits package to include two new wellbeing offerings. An online wellbeing platform that provides a gateway to over 3,000 experiences, covering lifestyle, mental and physical wellbeing and learning vouchers, to pay for or contribute to costs associated with any structured learning, be that a course, online programme or other structured learning arrangement to help employees strike a balance between work and non-work life.

Oxford Biomedica understands it has a duty of care towards all employees and continually assesses the risks to the workforce whilst implementing steps to maintain a COVID-19 secure environment. Oxford Biomedica regularly communicates with staff in respect of the current government guidelines as well as providing regular updates on measures available to provide extra protection, such as daily onsite COVID-19 testing.

 

2021 ESG people objectives:

  • to implement a new Group-wide employee engagement programme, to include a Group-wide employee engagement survey and quarterly pulse surveys.
  • to create an action plan for Equality, Inclusion and Diversity, to include the roll out of unconscious bias training.
  • to introduce further wellbeing initiatives with a focus on mental health and resilience.