Managing a multi-residential property is an enormous responsibility, especially when considering the health and safety of your block. It’s important that you are fully aware of your responsibility to keep your property safe as, if your block isn’t safe and an accident occurs, you may be found liable for negligence. That’s why it is essential that you follow government safety standards before anything happens.
What am I reposnsible for?
Health and safety standards require you to have a variety of risk assessments performed in your block at frequent intervals. These include, but are not limited to:
- Health and safety risk assessment
- Fire risk assessment
- Electrical safety risk assessment
- Asbestos survey
Health and Safety risk assessments
According to the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, all blocks of flats are legally required to undergo a health and risk assessment in communal areas. ‘Communal’ is the keyword here – these assessments do not need to take place in each individual flat, but rather focus on the areas which are shared. This includes:
- Foyers or reception areas
- Staircases and hallways
- Gardens, pathways, car parks and all other external grounds
- Lifts/lift motor rooms
- Leisure facilities
It is crucial that you keep records of your health and safety assessments so that, if an accident does occur, you have proof that you have fulfilled your legal responsibilities as a landlord or block manager. If you do not have this proof and the health and safety standards of your block are not up to scratch, you could be prosecuted for negligence. Likewise, it is also good practice to have assessments carried out even if there are no employees working in the communal areas. This may not be a legal obligation, but you should always take whatever steps possible to ensure your block is safe. Remember: your health and safety assessments should be updated every year!
Fire safety in your block
According to The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRO) 2005, the landlord or block manager should ensure that a fire safety assessment is carried out in their block. Similarly to the health and safety assessment, this type of check does not apply to the individual flats in your block, but rather the communal areas listed above. It’s important that you carry out and maintain these fire safety checks, as Fire Officers have the legal authority to inspect your block at any time and, if you are not meeting safety standards, they will enforce changes through an official notice.
How do I report an accident in my block?
According to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR), landlords or block managers have a legal obligation to report any accidents which take place in their block to the Health and Safety Executive. This includes:
- Dangerous occurrences
- ‘Near misses’ – this is important as, even though an accident or injury did not occur, there is a risk of the incident happening again.
Keeping your property safe should always be your number one priority – not just for residents, but for anybody who sets foot in your block. It is an unfortunate reality that accidents are likely to occur at some point, even with the best health and safety measures in place. However, by doing everything in your power to ensure your block is risk-free, you’ll be able to prevent a lot of accidents from occurring in the first place.