One of the key responsibilities of a residential block property management company is to ensure the health and safety of the block and its residents. In this article we outline some of the key aspects of health and safety that a block manager must adhere to.
Block management companies are charged with ensuring that their blocks are compliant with the 1989 Electricity at Work Regulations act. This means that they are responsible for the repair of any loose or dangerous wiring, as well as regular electric testing in communal areas, and the repair of communal electrical items such as lifts.
Electrical equipment in communal areas must be marked with the correct CE symbol, and instruction manuals must be available for those wishing to access them.
In line with the 1998 Gas Safety Regulations of Installation and Use act, block management companies have a responsibility to ensure that gas fittings and appliances are correctly installed and well maintained.
This involves three key aspects:
- Maintenance – All appliances, flues, and pipework
- Safety checks – Annual gas safety checks must be conducted on all appliances, flues, and pipework
- Record keeping – Leaseholders and tenants must be provided with annual records of gas safety checks. Block managers must keep these records for two years
To comply with the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, block management companies must conduct health and safety risk assessments in communal areas of the complex. It is recommended that these are completed at least annually.
Communal areas include:
- Hallways, pathways, and stairwells
- Gardens and courtyards
- Parking areas
- Roof access
- Any workers’ areas such as storage cupboards or staff rooms
This protects the well-being of both residents and on-site workers, but also minimises the risk of legal action being taken against accidents or injury occurring within the block.
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) assessments identify any risks within communal areas of the block relating to exposure to hazardous materials. These could be as common as cleaning solutions and paint to excessive dust, and toxic substances.
It is the duty of the residential block manager to conduct a COSHH assessment and determine if instructions should be given to those handling the materials, as well as providing PPE where necessary, and posting notices where appropriate. COSHH assessments and risk assessments should also be obtained from external contractors to ensure the safety of those on site.
Fire Safety Regulations
Block managers, as stated by the 2005 Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order (RRO), must undertake, action, and uphold fire risk assessments on all communal areas of a residential block. Those that do not comply with RRO may face fines and/or prosecution.
Fire risk assessments must be regularly revised with any changes to the block and must take into account the follow areas of key importance:
- The safety of residents, employee and visitors within the block
- Flammable materials and potential ignition sources on site
- Smoke detectors
- Adequate fire-fighting equipment on site
- Maintenance of fire-resisting construction such as fire doors
- Escape routes, fire exits and procedures
It is the duty of block managers to identify any risks of asbestos in communal areas of the block. An asbestos survey will help to identify if asbestos is present in the building. Should asbestos be found, the block manager must keep a register and enact an asbestos policy to manage and control the issue.
Commonly found in water systems, Legionella is a bacteria that can lead to lung inflammation. It is the responsibility of residential block managers to control the risks of Legionella in taps and water pipes in communal areas, and within individual units if water supply does not come directly from the water supplier.
Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences (RIDDOR)
A block manager of a residential block must report and record any serious work related accidents, diseases, or life threatening occurrences. This applies to employees of the block management company and external contractors and includes:
- Death at work
- Major injuries and accidents at the workplace
- Injuries to members of the public where hospital admittance is required
- Injuries incurred from accidents
Block Management Health and Safety Services with Valor Properties
Our residential block property management services in Leeds and West Yorkshire includes health and safety services to ensure the safety of your residential complex.
Get in touch with our friendly team today to learn more about our block management services and how we can benefit your residential block.