Health and Safety in a private space

by Readers Question

11:49 AM, 24th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Health and Safety in a private space

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Health and Safety in a private space

I think it would be fair to say that nobody would expect to find a Health and Safety inspection taking place inside their own private house (principal private residence). Health and Safety in a private space

Similarly, just as your own private garden is not a building site, I cannot imagine a situation where H&S would ever inspect / advise / impose conditions on you and your private garden environment.

Would folks agree on this basic premise (with an emphasis on the fact it is private space and not a commercial environment)?

I post this question because in the last 3 years, after 15 years of peace and quiet, the managing agent at our London block of flats has started implementing H&S inspections and reports on the communal areas and our garden.

They have advised that our fish ponds should be filled in !

With this and so many more text book H&S cliches being banded around, all of a sudden I find my private home environment being ruled over as if it was a full blow construction site.

What’s next ? Resident being refused entry to the garden unless they wear steel toe capped boots and a high vis ?

Given that we had 15 years where this was never a problem, and all of a sudden it is becoming a problem, I was wondering if any folks here had thoughts on when H&S can move from commercial space to private space and – in a nut shell, how we can carry on as per the last 15 years with a

Thank you for taking time to read this.

Tom



Comments

Mark Alexander

11:50 AM, 24th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Interesting thoughts Tom, looking forward to reading the responses.
.

Paul Tarry

15:06 PM, 24th January 2015
About 4 years ago

I would ask the Management Company on what basis these H and S checks have been started, I would assume it will be at the request or demand of either the buildings insurance or the agents public liability insurance

I would assume that your garden has some form of tenant access or right of way through it? so they are protecting themselves if someone fell in your pond and drowned

Regards Paul

Badger

12:48 PM, 25th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Have a word with the HSE themselves.

I take a number of regular email feeds from them - reports of various dangerous incidents and so forth. These feeds routinely include numerous dumb-ass examples of attempts to use H&S as a reason for stopping people doing something.

They are extremely down on H&S being used inappropriately as a reason for some petty restriction or other being imposed on otherwise law-abiding citizens just minding their own business.

They probably won;t intervene directly but their advice will likely empower you when it comes to telling your managing agent where to get off.

Oh, and the HSE will almost certainly advise that your fish ponds can stay!

Norman Elkington

13:59 PM, 26th January 2015
About 4 years ago

The relevant Act would be the Health and Safety At Work Act so it would only be relevant for anyone working on or at the property and any actions based on a suitable and sufficient Risk Assessment. There are of course other packets of legislation but as alluded to, not health and safety.

Joe Bloggs

14:42 PM, 26th January 2015
About 4 years ago

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 . The responsible person identifies what general fire precautions are required for a particular premises by carrying out a statutorily compulsory assessment of the risks to relevant persons from fire.
http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/fire/firesafetyrisk4
http://www.lacors.gov.uk/lacors/ContentDetails.aspx?id=19843

David Aneurin

15:25 PM, 4th February 2015
About 4 years ago

You state that the Managing agents have started H&S inspections. Question - was this authorized by the directors? How often and how much?
It is good practice to have the H&S inspections however the person who writes the report is probably operating to commercial standards and not criteria to be used in blocks of flats.There are lots of publication around which deal with especially HSE which produces a Guidance leaflet for flats.
If there is a serious difference between what you think is reasonable v the "specialist" you can always ask advice from HSE.

Harriet Hollingsworth

22:23 PM, 8th September 2015
About 3 years ago

I also have a fish pond situated in my private garden and my freeholder has decided he wants it filled in on grounds of health and safety.
Given that the pond is in my private garden please can anyone let me know if this can be enforced on these grounds? Whilst my neighbours have right of way along the back perimeter of the garden, there is a wall and they do not have access or freedom to use my garden where the pond is located
I note that my neighbours and fellow leaseholders also have two ponds in their garden, but they have not been asked by the freeholder to fill them in.

I would be grateful for any advice on this.


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