Sustainability Health & Safety

Health and safety

We continue to roll out our behavioural safety/safety culture approach across the business. We have always committed to developing, implementing, and improving safe systems of work, and this continued during 2020 with particular emphasis on re-engineering working processes in our factories, warehouses, and depots in response to COVID-19.

For more details of what we’ve done in 2020, together with our commitments and targets for the future, see our full sustainability report here.

Accident reporting

We are pleased that our safety KPI - the level of RIDDOR reportable injuries - continues to be significantly lower than the UK national average, with reportable injuries per 100,000 employees 32% below the Health and Safety Executive’s all-industry average in 2020. This gives us a strong base to build on as we continue to look for further improvements in working practices and ways to develop our safety culture.

Safe to Trade

In 2018, we rolled out a new tool kit for depot staff, entitled Safe to Trade. The pack sets out expected standards of safety for each depot, to ensure consistency across the network. All existing depot workers were retrained using the system, whilst new staff now work through it as part of their induction. The training materials include a film book, online software and a flip folder for quick reference or refresher training and appealing and easy to access formats. This way of getting up to date messages to the depots was particularly useful in 2020 when we were able to use it to get the latest COVID-19 operating procedures, bulletins, and alerts to depots at the drop of a hat.

In our depot network we were very pleased to be awarded the International Institute of Risk & Safety Management’s Technology Risk Management Initiative of the Year. This award was in recognition of a major project that involved us working with our fork lift supplier to develop a bespoke warning alarm system that alerts our fork lift drivers against trying to lift loads which are above the recommended capacity of the fork lift truck. Following a successful development phase, we invested in the retrofit of the alarm system to our fleet of over 700 fork lift trucks. All new trucks are fitted with this system as standard.

Safe to Supply

Our manufacturing and logistics behavioural safety programme, Safe to Supply, places a strong onus on staff to take responsibility for their wellbeing, and that of those around them. In 2020, we successfully achieved the international safety standard ISO 45001 in our factories and logistics network. This standard builds on the outgoing standard, OHSAS 180001, and expands its focus from safety systems to safety leadership and culture.

In 2020, our manufacturing and distribution operations were awarded a distinction - the highest grade - in the British Safety Council International Safety Awards. These prestigious international awards are evidence-based, and they recognise best practice in occupational health, safety, and wellbeing.

HOWDENS Making space more valuable

Business Model and Strategy

Find out more about our business model and strategy, the markets in which we operate and our strategic approach to protect our unique business model and ensure that the business continues to grow.


As a familiar sight across towns and cities in the UK and Europe, our depots are always within easy reach, so a trade professional never has far to travel to find their nearest Howdens. Get to know more about how each one operates.


Our sustainable behaviour is at the heart of our business and enables us to reduce some of our risks. We take great pride in ensuring that our business positively impacts the world around us and the people within it.


We are passionate about supporting the local communities we operate in, which is why our depots and support staff actively seek ways to give something back. Whether it is running half marathons or sponsoring local Scout groups, discover the many ways we help good causes.


With around 80 kitchen ranges, our exclusive Lamona appliance brand, and thousands of products across joinery and hardware, learn why our builders have come to trust the range and quality of the products we offer.

People and Careers

The Sunday Times named Howdens as one of the top 25 big companies to work for. Discover why Howdens is a great place to work, how we develop our people and reward them, whilst building a culture with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Financial Results

Download copies of the latest financial results for Howdens both past and present including the associated presentations and Interim Management Statements released between results announcements.


Howdens is a responsible business which was founded on the tenet that the Company should be worthwhile for all concerned, with a commitment to the people within its reach and the wider world. Here we provide the links to the framework that informs our decisions and outcomes.