Health & Safety
1096
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Health & Safety

Introduction

The Health and safety at work 1974 Act as amended by various statutes, requires that Mace Housing Co-operative formulate a policy for the health and safety of its employees whilst they are at work and for the tenants and members of the public with whom they come into contact. It is most important that all employees realise their personal responsibility to see the policy is followed and is implemented to ensure that they may have a safe place of work for themselves and their colleagues.

Equally the policy is intended to promote good health and safety practice for the benefit of the Mace Housing residents other personnel working from time to time at the Mace offices or scheme locations, and also for members of the general public.

Policy Detail

Mace Housing attaches the greatest importance to the maintenance of personal safety, considering this to be a management responsibility equal to that of any other function. The Co-op recognises its responsibility in ensuring the health, safety and welfare at work of all its employees and is committed to providing information, instruction, training and supervision in the area of health and safety.

Risk Assessments (Users)

When an applicant applies to join Mace Housing, we will carry out a needs and risk assessment to determine what support you require, if any. The needs and risk assessments will take full account of your views, targets and aspirations. During the needs assessment basic information must be collected from the user, including the following:

Full name and date of birth

Details of your housing history, any tenancy breaches or anti-social behaviour

Personal finances

Physical and mental health

Details of any medication you take

Details of your Doctor and any other Key Worker involvement

Social and leisure interests

The user will be involved with the risk assessment we carry out. The risk assessment will identify anything or anyone that might be risk to, from and how, by working together, we can minimise these risks. Once we have carried out our initial needs and risk assessment we will provide the users with a written explanation of the outcome. A decision must be made based on the information that has been given us that means sometimes we might be unable to offer a particular user a service. If this happens we will always inform the user and the person who referred him/her as soon as possible giving them the reasons for our decision. In these instances we may refer the user to other more appropriate services. The user has the right to appeal against any decisions arising from assessments or reviews with which they disagree.

Details of the eligibility criteria for Mace Housing Co-operative service are available in full upon request.

Safety officers and safety Representative

The Maintenance Officer is responsible for the implementation of all health and safety initiatives.

The Maintenance officer will act as the designation safety officer, with each officer acting as assistant safety officers responsible for all Mace staff and locations within their own management in respect of health and safety matters.

Whilst it is the responsibility of each individual member of staff to report the incident of unsafe working practice or condition and any accident, it shall be specific responsibility of the assistant safety officers to report details of such incident to the safety officer.

Assistant safety officers shall investigate all incidents and where necessary prepare a formal report for consideration by the health and safety working party. The assistant safety officer shall also give individual and collective advice on any health and safety matter or seek other specialised professional advice as and when required.

There should be a health and safety working party held quarterly to:

Assess and review progress of all Health and Safety initiatives including Health and Safety training requirements.

To report on any accident/incident or failures to comply with the health and safety policy by either employer or employee.

To submit any recommendations in relation to procedure or policy to the joint staff and Executive Management Team and Board of Management if necessary.

Employees can consult their assistant safety officers, Union representative if any or the Co-op’s health and safety officer.

That annual Health and Safety audit inspections are carried out.

First Aid

A first aid box will be provided and maintained at each office and scheme. The assistant Safety officers will be responsible for its maintenance and for ensuring that it is fully stocked at all times, using the guidelines provided by the St. John Ambulance Brigade. The location of the first aid box will be clearly identified to all staff.

At all locations where 10 or more people are employed there will be at least one member of staff trained in the first aid practice. Where necessary, the Association will arrange suitable training for the appointed member of staff. Persons, who are appointed to administer first aid, must be jointly responsible with the Safety Officer for maintaining only that equipment specified for that use.

Protective Clothing

Protective clothing can save lives and avoid serious injury. Appropriate protective clothing will be issued free to staff. Where protective clothing, safety equipment or uniform is provided, this will be worn in accordance with management instruction or codes of safe working practice.

Where the Association provides protective clothing, safety equipment or uniform and an employee produces medical evidence that such equipment or clothing will aggravate a medical condition then, where reasonably practicable, consideration will be given to suitable alternatives and issues made accordingly.

Fire Protection

All members of staff must make themselves aware of the fire evacuation procedure for their particular office. Under direction from the Safety Officer, there will be arrangements for a fire drill to undertaken at least once a year. A note of the results of the fire drill will be recorded in a logbook provided for the purpose.

Members/Tenants

All Housing Officers must make new tenants aware of the fire evacuation procedures for their particular accommodations and should give them a full induction in fire evacuations and exits. All properties must have a clear fire exit signs and notes on the billboard about the procedures.

All housing schemes where fire alarms are installed, fire drill and fire evacuation instructions will be provided in a similar manner in conjunction with the local fire Brigade’s Fire Prevention Officer.

Functional bell tests on all fire alarms will be undertaken at monthly intervals, by the Assistant Safety Officer, in accordance with the recommendations of the equipment manufacturer.

All fire extinguishers, smoke and heat detectors, fire alarms and other safety equipment will be checked at least once a year.

A review will be undertaken of all buildings, at least once a year, to ensure that updated fire prevention measures are considered and implemented where necessary.

Offices

It is essential that all employees ensure that no actions or working practices contribute to the promotion of unsafe working conditions.

Passageways and staircases should be left unobstructed, cupboards and filing cabinets should not be left open, and floor areas generally should be left clear. Files and paperwork should be cleared away at the end of each working day. Kitchen areas should be left clean and tidy at all times. Drinking and eating utensils should be washed and put away after use. Refrigerators and cooking appliances should be left in a clean condition after use. Unused or waste food should be disposed where not stored in refrigerator.

Housing Scheme Locations

Management and scheme staff should familiarise themselves with all aspects of the housing schemes with which they are involved, giving particular attention to areas of potential health.

Hazards

It is management’s responsibility to ensure that staff are adequately trained to use facilities, plant and equipment needed to carry out their duties.

Building Maintenance

Building maintenance will generally be undertaken by contractors working on behalf of Mace Housing. All contractors working for Mace Housing will be required to provide the Co-op with evidence of their Company Safety Policies. They will also be encouraged to adopt working practices in line with Mace Housing policy.

Plant and Equipment

All plant and equipment owned by Mace Housing Co-operative shall be operated only by authorised members of staff. Mobile plant and equipment is never to be left unattended when in an operational state. Repair and maintenance work should only be carried out by approved contractor.

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health

The COSHH legislation stipulates that no work which liable to expose anyone to substances hazardous to health shall not be carried out unless a proper risk assessment has been made.

Advance Security & Prevention

  1. All staff members should carry an identity card.
  2. All staff should be aware of the potential risks involved when making home visits. Staff should record, in their diaries, the name, address and telephone number of each home to be visited. Estimated time of return should also be noted.
  3. Staff should inform the office or line manager when going out as well as annual and flexitime leave to be recorded.
  4. Staff should take a mobile phone on all visits.
  5. If staff are very concerned about the visit they should inform their line-manager and take a colleague with them.
  6. A file note will be attached to the file of any tenant where there is a risk or history of violence. Home visits to such tenants should be made in pairs.

Threats

Staff who cannot handle an abusive telephone call should transfer to a more senior member of staff. If a tenant makes a treat to a visiting member of staff, the recommended course of action is retreat. If likewise violence is threatened while in an interview, the staff member should withdraw from the interview and seek assistance of a more senior member. The person who has made the threat should be asked to leave the office. All incidents of threatened assault should be reported in writing and report passed to the Director of Operations.

Staff Well Being

Mace Housing Co-operative will endeavour to provide for the physical and social well-being of the staff by the introduction of facilities and amenities which help to promote good staff relations in the interests of the Co-operative as a whole.

Smoking

Mace Housing is committed to try to achieve good Health & Safety practice in employment.  Therefore smoking will be prohibited in the work place and in all communal areas in all the Housing schemes.

Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

Housing in Multiple occupancy
Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

The Housing Act 2004 has introduced a Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) that replaces the Standard of Fitness under Housing Act 1985. The HHSRS is a risk assessment method, which has changed the way Environmental Health Officers inspect and assess housing conditions.

The principle of HHSRS is that any residential premises (including the structure, means of access, and any associated outbuilding, garden or yard) should provide a safe and healthy environment for any potential occupier or visitor. HHSRS is a risk assessment process and is comprehensive in its coverage of key health and safety risks in dwellings. In very broad terms, the Rating System works by assessing the risk associated with certain home hazards and if the likelihood of harm occurring is significant the Local Authority may take action to ensure that the risk is removed or reduced.

There are twenty-nine separate hazards that have to be taken into account during an inspection of the house or flat. These are as follows:

Physiological hazards:

Damp and mould growth

Excessive cold

Excessive heat

Asbestos

Biocides

Carbon monoxide

Radiation

Lead

Un-combusted fuel gas

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Psychological hazards:

Crowding and space

Light

Noise

Entry by intruders

Protection against accidents:

Domestic hygiene

Food safety

Personal hygiene

Water supply

Protection against accidents:

Falls associated with baths

Falls on the level

Falls on stairs

Falls between floor levels

Electrical hazard

Fire hazard

Flames and hot surfaces

Collision and entrapment

Explosion

Ergonomics

Structural stability and falling elements

Each hazard has to be assessed on the likelihood of causing harm and then further assessed on the outcome of that harm based on the four categories ranging from minor injury up to hospitalisation and death. Calculation is then made using the Government’s multipliers to arrive at a score. If the hazard score is above 1000, a Category 1 hazard exists and the Council is obliged to take action to ensure elimination of that hazard. In many instances eliminating that hazard will be a simple matter. However, there will be occasions where the hazard is such that it will require quite substantial amounts of money spent to make the house safe to live in.

Category 2 hazards exist when the score is below 1000. For a score below 1000 there is no obligation for the Council to take action but in most cases the Council will bring it to the attention of the owner and request the hazard is eliminated.

Remedying of Hazards

There are several options available for the Council to use:

Improvement Notice

Hazard Awareness Notice

Prohibition Order

Emergency Prohibition Order

The action taken by Council will largely depend on the nature of and seriousness of the hazard.

Under the Housing Act 2004, local authorities are authorised to make a charge for the service of the above Notices. This charge includes the cost to the Council of the inspection, desktop assessment, and drawing up of plans, consultation with the LFCDA, preparation, and service of the Notice and general administration.

General

All employees and members/tenants are required to conduct themselves in a proper manner at all times. It is essential that all employees and members/tenants are conscious of the need for safety and the necessity to always take reasonable precautions. All employees and members/residents are required to sign a declaration indication that they have read and understood the Co-op’s Health and Safety Policy.

Review

The policy shall be reviewed at least once every 3 years. Mace Housing will review its Health and Safety performance and the suitability of the health and safety policy at the quarterly Maintenance meetings.