Landlords and Managing Agents Health and Safety Responsibilities

Landlords and Managing Agents Health and Safety Responsibilities

As a landlord you have a legal duty to safeguard the health and safety of your tenants and others in accordance with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Housing Act 2004, the Occupiers Liability Act 1984 and associated legislation.

What are my landlord health and safety responsibilities?

Gas Safety Responsibilities – you must ensure that all gas appliances in your property are safe for your tenants to use, which requires you to:

  • Arrange for a Gas Safe registered engineer to install and maintain gas supplies. These checks must occur every 12 months.
  • Have an up-to-date gas safety record which should be issued to your tenant.
  • Inform tenants of where to turn off the gas and what to do in case of an emergency.

Fire Safety Responsibilities – you have a legal obligation to ensure that your properties comply with fire safety regulations.

  • Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, you must undertake a fire risk assessment in all areas of your property.

Electrical Safety Responsibilities – You must:

  • Ensure all electrical installations are safe.
  • Ensure that all appliances provided to your tenants have the ‘CE’ marking. 
  • Use a qualified electrician to carry out checks.  A registered electrician will issue an Electrical Installation Condition Report after they have inspected installations. 
  • Ensure that all alterations, repairs, and improvements to the fixed electrical system comply with the latest Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Wiring Regulations.

Legionella Safety Responsibilities – In a property, legionella bacteria may be found in any water system between 20-45°c which could be fatal.   

  • To effectively prevent legionella and legionnaire’s disease in your property, you must undertake a legionella risk assessment.

Asbestos Safety Responsibilities – It is a legal requirement that you must ensure you manage the risk posed by asbestos. 

  • This can be achieved by carrying out an asbestos risk assessment by a competent person.

Letting/Managing Agents should have a management contract in place which should clearly specify who is responsible for the above and associated record keeping. 

What are the consequences if I choose not to comply?

If you choose not to comply with the law, you could face hefty costs.  These could be in the way of fines from local authorities should you fail to ensure adequate health and safety standards.

There is also a risk of civil prosecutions if someone injures themselves as a result of poor health and safety at your property.  Any damage to your reputation from any such proceedings would also have a detrimental financial effect on you as a landlord in the future and your ability to rent out properties.  In addition, legal proceedings may also affect the reputation of any managing agents associated with the landlord.

What more can I do?

An annual Property Inspection carried out by a competent health and safety consultant demonstrates a positive attitude towards health and safety and a strong duty of care towards your tenants and others. 

Furthermore, a regular property inspection highlights any potential hazards and controls required to reduce the risk of harm to others, enabling you to be proactive and have peace of mind that you are reducing the likelihood of any harm being incurred and associated legal proceedings.

Should you like to discuss your responsibilities, please just get in touch.

Sarah Mellor CMIOSH MIIRSM
Salopian Health & Safety Limited
T: 01630 657084
E: enquiries@salopiansafety.co.uk
W:
SalopianSafety.co.uk

Hazardous Substances – Are You Putting Your Staff At Risk?

Hazardous Substances – Are You Putting Your Staff At Risk?

When it comes to safely handling hazardous substances, risk assessments are key.  Did you know they are a legal requirement?

It is surprising how many materials or substances used or created at work could damage your health.  They could be dusts, gases, liquids, gels or powders that you come into contact with.

Harmful substances can be present in anything from paints and cleaning products to flour dust, welding fume and biological agents.

What Are The Hazards?

Some substances can cause asthma or other diseases, including cancer. Many can damage the skin and some can cause serious long-term damage to the lungs.

The effect can be immediate, such as dizziness or stinging eyes, or can take many years to develop, such as lung disease.  Many of the long-term or chronic effects are not reversible.

What Do I Have To Do As An Employer?

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) requires you to adequately control exposure to materials that cause ill health by:

  • identifying which harmful substances may be present in the workplace
  • deciding how workers might be exposed to them and be harmed
  • looking at what measures you have in place to prevent this harm and deciding whether you are doing enough
  • providing information, instruction and training
  • in appropriate cases, providing health surveillance.

The above actions can be systematically worked through by completing a COSHH Risk Assessment.

If you would like any help with ensuring your workforce are not at risk and you comply with the COSHH Regulations, get in touch.

Sarah Mellor CMIOSH MIIRSM
Salopian Health & Safety Limited
T: 01630 657084
E: enquiries@salopiansafety.co.uk
W:
SalopianSafety.co.uk

The Importance of a Health and Safety Audit

The Importance of a Health and Safety Audit

Do you worry that:

  • an employee could be injured or suffer ill health?
  • you may be exposed should an employee submit a claim?
  • you may have a sudden visit by the enforcing authority?
  • costs may spiral out of control?

Where do you start?

A good starting place is to have a visit by one of our qualified consultants. They will undertake an audit to identify the risks to your employees, contractors and visitors along with reviewing what you already have in place.

You may already have systems in place which merely need reviewing and bringing up to date. You may have no documented health and safety management system in place but want practical and realistic advice on what you need to implement, to sufficiently manage your risks. We can offer clear advice which is in proportion to your risks.

So, what is an audit?

An audit is a systematic, independent and documented process. This allows you to measure your safety management systems consistently, with the aim of achieving continuous improvement.

Why have an audit?

The main reason is that all employers must comply with health and safety legislation. This includes the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974 and the Regulations made under this Act.

You must regularly examine the quality and effectiveness of your health and safety management systems. It is notable that when the Health and Safety Executive undertake their investigations into major accidents, it usually highlights health and safety management failures as being the root of the cause.

How is an audit undertaken?

Initially, one of our consultants will visit your premises and complete an initial evaluation of the systems and procedures already in place. Checking compliance with current health and safety law. This will involve reviewing your current documentation such as policies, risk assessments, training records, work instructions, inspection records etc. A physical inspection of your site will then be undertaken. This will identify any hazards which require improved management and discussions will be held with your employees.

If a weakness is identified, it will be detailed within an Audit Report which includes an evaluation of what is required and an action plan to make the necessary improvements.

So, what are the benefits of an audit?

  • Reduce risks.
  • Improve your compliance with the law.
  • Benchmark your organisation against other organisations outside or within your sector.
  • Having an independent auditor of your policies and procedures means that you get a reliable, unbiased report of findings and an objective action plan for improvement.
  • Control systems weaken over time and need to be constantly reviewed.
  • It helps demonstrate management commitment to employees and third parties.

What next?

Once your audit has been undertaken, you’re now in a better position that you know what needs to be implemented to better protect your employees, visitors, contractors and your business.

You may have the resource internally to complete the actions, or you may choose for one our consultants to visit and support you with this process.

We offer various consultancy packages. These are specifically designed to suit individual business needs following audits.  We pride ourselves in getting to know and understand specific business requirements and developing consultancy packages that are right for businesses, in terms of supporting their needs and budget.

If you’d like a chat to discuss any assistance that you may require in getting focused and drawing up an action plan, then please get in touch.

 

Sarah Mellor CMIOSH MIIRSM
Salopian Health & Safety Limited
T: 01630 657084
E: enquiries@salopiansafety.co.uk
W:
SalopianSafety.co.uk

Fireworks – Top Ten Safety Tips for Bonfire Night

Fireworks – Top Ten Safety Tips for Bonfire Night

Are you safe this bonfire night?

Bonfire night should be filled with fun and laughter, but unfortunately this is not always the case

Young people should watch and enjoy fireworks at a safe distance and follow the safety rules for using sparklers. Only adults should deal with firework displays and the lighting of fireworks. They should also take care of the safe disposal of fireworks once they have been used. Follow these top tips to stay safe:

  1. Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable
  2. Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time
  3. Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary
  4. Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back
  5. Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks
  6. Never return to a firework once it has been lit
  7. Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them
  8. Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators
  9. Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire
  10. Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving.

Sparklers

These are often viewed as being harmless, but they do burn at fierce temperatures. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents recommends that Sparklers should not be given to anyone under the age of five. To a young child, the heat from a sparkler is equivalent to the heat from a welding torch.

Safety rules for sparklers:

  • Always wear gloves with sparklers, preferably leather ones
  • Hold it at arm’s length while an adult lights it for you
  • Never wave it about near someone else as you could burn them
  • Never hold a baby in your arms when you are holding a sparkler
  • When the sparkler has finished, put it into a bucket of cold water straight away and leave it there.

Pets

And finally, don’t forget your pets. Animals do not like bonfires or fireworks. The flames and noise upsets them. They should always be kept safely indoors.  Make sure that they cannot get out through open windows and doors. It is best to keep the curtains closed too and it may be necessary to keep them indoors for several nights around November 5th.

As long as everyone follows the above safety tips and most importantly, remembers that fireworks and sparklers can be dangerous if misused, a good, safe time can be enjoyed by everyone.  Enjoy your celebrations.

Sarah Mellor CMIOSH MIIRSM
Salopian Health & Safety Limited
T: 01630 657084
E: enquiries@salopiansafety.co.uk
W:
SalopianSafety.co.uk

Dangers of Flooding – How to Protect Your Home

Dangers of Flooding – How to Protect Your Home

If you are unfortunate enough that your property is in an area that could flood, prepare your property well in advance to reduce the risk of flood water getting inside. 

Sandbags: contact local builders’ merchants for stocks of bags and sand.

Doors and windows: buy automatic flood-proof doors and windows, or purpose-built flood boards that can be fitted when flooding is expected. Raise door thresholds to help keep shallow water out.

Exterior walls: check the pointing, and apply water-proofing sealant to exterior walls.

Floors: raise damp-proof brick courses.  Seal floors or replace wooden flood boards with concrete with a damp-proof membrane.  Be aware that water can enter where the floor and walls join.

Air bricks: buy automatic flood-proof air bricks or specially designed covers that are easy to fit over air bricks when flooding is expected.

Drains and pipes: fit non-return valves to drains and water inlet and outlet pipes.  This will prevent wastewater from flowing back into the property through sewerage pipes for ground floor toilets and sinks.

Barriers: you could arrange free-standing temporary flood barriers, but remember that water could still get in through the drainage system

Before a flood:

  1. Find out if you can receive flood warnings
  2. Prepare and keep a list of all your important contacts
  3. Think about which items you can move now and which items you would want to move to safety during a flood such as pets, cars, furniture and electrical equipment
  4. Know how to turn off gas, electricity and water supplies.

During a flood:

  1. Switch off water, gas and electricity at mains when water is about to enter your home.  Do not touch sources of electricity when standing in water
  2. Fit flood protection products if you have them
  3. Put plugs in sinks and baths.  Weigh them down with a pillowcase or plastic bag filled with soil
  4. If you do not have non-return valves fitted, plug water inlet pipes with towels or cloths
  5. Disconnect equipment that uses water, like washing machines and dishwashers.

By being prepared and having a flood plan in place, should help to protect your home.

Sarah Mellor CMIOSH MIIRSM
Salopian Health & Safety Limited
T: 01630 657084
E: enquiries@salopiansafety.co.uk
W:
SalopianSafety.co.uk

Can Outsourcing Health and Safety Save Us Money?

Do you run your own business?   Do you have competent Health & Safety advice?  If not then read on….

All businesses want and need to see a healthy return on their investment.  When you are deciding who should manage your health and safety, you need to engage someone who:

  • is focussed on your business and growth objectives
  • provides you with competent and sound advice
  • is qualified, experienced and understands how businesses operate.

Your options for engaging a Health and Safety Manager include recruiting a permanent employee or outsourcing the role of managing your health and safety processes to a consultancy.

How much does a Health and Safety Manager cost?

The average salary of a permanent full time Health and Safety Manager is between £30,000 and £60,000 a year, depending on qualifications and experience.  But when you take into account the hidden costs such as office and IT costs, recruitment fees, pension contributions, training, company car and other benefits, the annual cost can be more like £80,000-£100,000.  And £100,000 is if you get the recruitment right!  If you don’t that could be money that your organisation never sees again.

 What will outsourcing do for my business?

Outsourcing your health and safety to a competent consultant is good value for money because you only pay for what you use.  If you compare outsourcing to employing a permanent or contract manager, you’ll find the following benefits:

  • a consultant can start immediately, so you don’t have to wait for them to work out their notice period;
  • a consultant will roll up their sleeves and get started without the need for the on-boarding that an employee requires to get up and running;
  • a consultant will offer you candid and independent advice without the politics;
  • you only pay for what you need, so can scale up or down depending on your business needs at the time;
  • you don’t have to pay recruitment consultancy fees (which could be around £7,000 to £10,000);
  • you don’t have to pay for the job advert (at least £750);
  • you can keep office and IT costs down if they work offsite with their own IT.  IT and office costs can be around £4,000 for an employee;
  • you don’t have to pay national insurance or pension contributions which could save you £6,000 to £10,000 a year;
  • you don’t have to pay for a car or other company benefits – another saving of about £6,000 a year;
  • a consultant will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience for your sector;
  • if you engage a consultancy, you will have access to other H&S practitioners with different expertise.

Organisations can save a lot of money by choosing the outsourcing route.  All of our consultants are competent, independent and have the professional integrity that you need to give your business the edge.  We pride ourselves on providing practical solutions to meet your business needs.  Outsourcing your health and safety to Salopian Health & Safety can give you peace of mind so that you can concentrate on your business goals.

For more information please call us to have a chat.