Case study: West Midlands Travel Ltd (National Express Bus)

West Midlands Travel Ltd


West Midlands and Dundee

Public Transport

West Midlands Travel Ltd (National Express Bus) is a part of National Express Group, a public limited company which operates bus, coach and rail services in the UK, Europe, North America, North Africa and the Middle East. It operates over 1,500 buses with a £278m annual revenue in 2016.

Key fact summary

  • Continuing to reduce accident and incident rates
  • Staff surveys show health and safety is improving
  • Contributes to successful bid process for future work.


  • Members of British Safety Council since 2015
  • Five Star Occupational Health and Safety Audit
  • OHSAS 18001 (combined with Five Star Audit)
  • ISO 45001 - throughout 2018
  • Sword of Honour Award.
"We hold the fact that we have OHSAS 18001, a five-star rating in the Five Star Occupational Health and Safety Audit and have achieved the Sword of Honour Award as contributing factors to winning bids for future work." Paul Harley, Head of Safety, West Midlands Travel Ltd

Business issue

We work with British Safety Council because we want to push ourselves further than legal compliance and into best practice/world class. We are already moving in this direction but wanted to use a company like the British Safety council on our journey to get to a world class organisation.

What happened? And the impact

The Five Star Audit and annual safety audit is now an integral part of the planning process, both in updating our organisation strategy and setting out key health and safety objectives for the year.

Once the audit has been conducted and a report received, it is reviewed by our Head of Health & Safety and our Managing Director. It is then passed to the wider board for their review and comments.

Simultaneously, the report is passed to the health and safety team for them to generate ideas on how best to address the outcomes of the audit. This involves rectifying any non-conformances as well as how to monitor the strong areas of the business to ensure they remain so. We then develop an action plan which will be based on any non-conformances from the OHSAS 18001 audit and the recommendations from the Five Star Audit process.

The final draft of the action plan is reviewed by the Board, General Managers and the health and safety team.

Progress is tracked in real time by the Head of Health and Safety. All actions have owners and due dates, and progress against the plan is tracked in safety team meetings and Board meetings.

We are now further along the road of driving out harm within our business, and we are recording less harm to employees, passengers and third parties every year.