We are landlords of both commercial and residential properties and have been advised that we are required to have a Health And Safety Policy And Plan.
Is that correct? If so, what should the policy/plan cover?
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (“Act”) commercial landlords and (at times) residential landlords are Persons Conducting a Business or
Undertaking (“PCBU”) and have duties under the Act. That means you have a responsibility to ensure that people working on the premises are healthy
and safe. The Act does not specify how it should be complied with, but one of the best ways to ensure you are discharging your duties is to have
a Health and Safety Policy and Plan.
For a commercial landlord, the policy and plan should be fairly comprehensive and it may be worthwhile engaging a specialist consultant to assist you.
The policy will be a big picture document setting out your goals and desire to provide healthy and safe premises for the people working there.
The plan should be more specific and contain actual procedures for implementing the policy, such as how hazards are to be dealt with when they
arise and a mechanism for receiving notifications and feedback from tenants.
There should also be a commitment in the documents to ongoing updates and reviews of the plan and policy at regular intervals. This is not an exercise
that gets done once and then forgotten. Only an ongoing commitment to health and safety will be sufficient to discharge your duties under the Act.
Having a written policy is excellent, and Work Safe will want to see it if there is an incident at your property, but if it has not been touched
for a year prior to the incident it is not going to look very impressive.
Residential landlords have less to worry about, as the Act only applies to them when their property is a workplace, and that is generally only when
a contractor (say a plumber) is working on-site. Your responsibility, therefore, is to engage competent tradespeople, and it would be sensible
to ensure those tradespeople have Health and Safety policies of their own.
Disclaimer: the content of this article is general in nature and not intended as a substitute for specific professional advice on any matters and should not be relied upon for that purpose.
Campbell is a Director at Duncan King Law and specialises in Employment and Commercial Law, Relationship
Property and Residential Conveyancing. Click here to email Campbell.