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Example risk assessment for maintenance of flats

Important reminder

This example risk assessment shows the kind of approach a small business might take. It can be used as a guide to think through some of the hazards in your business and the steps you need to take to control the risks. Please note that it is not a generic risk assessment that you can just put your company name on and adopt wholesale without any thought. This would not satisfy the law - and would not be effective in protecting people.

Every business is different - you need to think through the hazards and controls required in your business for yourself.

Setting the scene

The residential managing agent, employed by the landlord, carried out the risk assessment at this block of flats. The block, built in the 1930s, has communal gardens and separate garage blocks, with asbestos cement roofs. It is a three-storey block with 12 flats and two central stairways with landings.

A caretaker, who lives offsite, carries out general maintenance, small repairs and cleans communal areas. The gardens are managed by an independent contractor. Larger, planned maintenance is contracted to specialist companies.

As the premises were built before 2000 the building was surveyed for asbestos when acquired by the owner. Asbestos-containing materials found in the survey were recorded, a copy of the survey is kept in the caretaker’s office and the managing agent holds a duplicate copy to send out to contractors tendering for work.

How was the risk assessment done?

The managing agent followed the guidance in HSE’s Five steps to risk assessment.

  1. To identify the hazards, the managing agent:
    • looked at HSE’s web pages for small businesses , and the websites of other bodies, for example the Association of Residential Managing Agents, to learn where hazards can occur;
    • made clear who was responsible for what under the terms of the lease or tenancy agreement. This was especially important for issues such as asbestos management, gas safety, pressurised equipment, replacement of carpets;
    • walked around the property, noting things that might be dangerous and taking HSE’s guidance into account;talked to the caretaker and other staff (including the contractors) about their work to learn from their knowledge and experience, and to listen to their opinions about health and safety issues in the workplace;
    • talked to the preferred suppliers of maintenance work, to ensure that their activities didn’t pose a risk to other site staff, contractors and residents, or vice versa; and
    • looked at the accident book, to gain an understanding of previous incidents.
  2. The managing agent then wrote down who could be harmed by the hazards and how. He also took the method statements and risk assessments that contractors had issued for specific jobs and, if they were acceptable, incorporated these into this assessment.
  3. He wrote down what controls, if any, were in place to manage each hazard and compared these to the good practice guidance on the HSE website. Where existing controls were not considered good enough, the managing agent wrote down what else needed to be done to control the risk.
  4. Putting the risk assessment into practice, the managing agent decided and recorded who was responsible for implementing the actions identified as necessary and when they should be done. When each action was done, he ticked it off and noted the date. He also made it part of the induction process for new staff and new contractors.
  5. The managing agent discussed the findings of the risk assessment with the caretaker, all contractors, and with the residents. A copy was pinned-up in the building so everyone who lived and worked in the property could see it. The assessment would be reviewed and updated every year, or straightaway if there were any major changes to the property or contract arrangements.
  6. Most of the actions fell to the managing agent, but where the landlord, caretaker and others had responsibilities, he wrote to them so that everyone knew what they had to do.
Updated 2012-11-29