Health and Safety is a subject about as popular as traffic wardens and in many properties we view it is a subject that is being almost completely ignored. However, as a director of a management company, ignorance is not bliss! Breaches of Health & Safety legislation can result in both civil claims and criminal prosecution, potentially for the same occurrence. In simple terms, a management company has overall responsibility for a property, and as a director of that company the buck stops with you. You have a duty of care for those residing in the property, people visiting the property, and even mischief makers that are not welcomed.
So if Health & Safety is so important, how do you address it? Well, you can ask a consultant to visit and they will produce a glossy report for you, usually with things you need to do. A good start, but such reports will age and if not kept up to date will quickly lose its value.
Whether building on a report or starting from scratch a really good port of call is to visit the HSE website. Here you will find some excellent guideline on best practice. Use this information to build up a checklist. Do note that this must include all elements and not just the items you think are relevant to your property. This is because you are required to demonstrate you have considered all safety matters, whether directly relevant or not.
With so many apartment blocks now being almost exclusively occupied by tenants, and with fire safety such a high-profile topic, the chances of claims under Health & Safety grounds are likely to increase significantly. By using an agent such as PM Property Management, who regularly visit properties, the chance of breaches occurring is reduced, and with our directors trained in Health and Safety, they are able to give positive advice on a regular basis.