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maintainanasbestos register forany block wherethere areasbestos containingmaterials, andtohaveapolicyfor themanagementand control of the asbestos. Thereisnot adutytoremoveasbestos,


indeed to do so inmanycases is farmore dangerousthantoleave it.Whatisimportant is that if anycontractors areworking in the blocknearasbestos thelandlord or agent must inform themof thepresenceofthe material.


enfORCeMent Youmay arguethatthe risksinablock of flats are fewand things do not go wrong. However, the consequences if there is a fire, accident or injury at ablock canbeserious.The body whichenforcesmost health andsafety mattersisthe Health andSafetyExecutive. (Somematters areenforcedbylocalauthorities andthe fireservice). TheHSE canissue improvementnotices to requirelandlordsto take action to reduce riskssuchasinstalling railingsorhandrails to prevent fallsand prohibitionnotices to cease an activity if there is ariskofserious injury.Failure to actionmay result in prosecution. TheCorporateManslaughter Actof2007


hasmade quite clear that directors of resident management companiescan be prosecuted undercriminallawforserious breachesof health andsafetylaw.TheHealth&Safety Offences Act 2008 raised themaximumfine for offences in lower courts from£5,000 to £20,000. It also increased the number of offences for whichan individual could beimprisoned. Don’tforgetthatdirectors of resident


It is necessary to identify any asbestos whichmay involve asurvey


responsibility for themon the landlord. The starting pointisariskassessmentusually carried out by an expert, and if there are risks thenawritten action plan should be produced to reduce the risks. An annual review of the risk assessment should bemade.


COSHH COSHHisthe ControlofSubstancesHazardous toHealth.Relevantsubstances foundinblocks of flats in common partsare cleaningmaterials and possibly gardening chemicals. Once again thedutyisonthe landlord or


agent to assess the risks fromanymaterials stored in thecommonareas.Mostmaterials carrylabelsthatidentifythe hazardsthat theymaypose,manufacturersalsoissue safety sheets on howtohandlethematerials. It is a duty to decidewhat instructions must be giventothosewhomay handle the materialstoreducerisks,andwhat protective clothingmaybeneeded.Ifacontractorat the block is to supply and use hazardous materials, then it is adutyofthe landlord or agenttoobtain aCOSHHrisk statementfrom the contractor.


RIDDOR These regulations (see Further information at thebottomofthispage) requirethe reporting


Flat Living Spring2012


of seriouswork related accidents, diseases and dangerousoccurrences.Evenifalandlord or agenthas used aself-employed contractor to work atablock of flats,itisthe landlord’sduty to report an accident to that contractor. The dutyalsoapplies ifamemberofthe public is injuredatthe block. Thereisanationalincident centre towhichreports should bemade.


ManagIngaSbeStOS Landlordsand agents areunder adutytobe awareofany asbestos-containingmaterial in thestructure or common partsofblocks of flats. Remember that this includes the roof andmain structure as well. The duty is specificand it is necessary to identify any asbestoswhichmay involveasurvey, to


managementcompanies canbeprosecuted


under criminal lawfor seriousbreachesof healthandsafety law


Directorsofresident


management companieswillalwaysretain responsibility forhealthand safety,whether they delegate to agents or not. Thereisacost to blocks of flats in ensuring compliance with health and safety regulations but there is a much higher cost if things go wrongbecause of afailure to comply.


fuRtHeRInfORMatIOn Thehealthand safety regulationsmentioned in this advisory note are:- ■TheManagementofHealthand Safety at Work Regulations 1999. ■TheWork at Height Regulations 2005 ■The Control of Asbestos atWork Regulations 2006. ■The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases andDangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995. ■TheControl of Substances Hazardousto Health 2002. ■TheRegulatoryReform(Fire Safety)Order 2005. ■The Electricity atWork Regulations 1989 ■ThePrivateWaterSuppliesRegulations 1991●


Formore on health and safety turn to the feature on pages 61-65 of this issue


Formore detailsand linkstospecialist information, go to theARMAwebsite at


www.arma.org.uk


AssociationofResidentialManagingAgents Limited(ARMA) Tel02079782607 Email info@arma.org.uk


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