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We have a strong track record of working with business owners to ensure they know how to keep everyone in their premises safe and healthy – essential for a productive workforce.

What is a commercial business?

Commercial is a term relating to commerce or general business activity. This can include anything from small taxi firms with less than 5 employees to high-rise office buildings occupied by thousands of workers.

We supply commercial health and safety to a number of Clients in the commercial sector, ensuring their businesses are fully compliant with all health and safety legislation. Since the sentencing guidelines for health and safety, corporate manslaughter and food safety and hygiene offences came into effect in 2016, we have seen a significant increase in levels of fines for companies prosecuted for offences under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and associated legislation. Ensuring health and safety in the workplace is implemented effectively to minimise the risk of harm to every person who comes into contact with your business is the only way to protect yourself and your business from potential fines, which are now based on annual turnover with unlimited custodial sentences

Landlords and tenants alike must be absolutely clear what their health and safety responsibilities are in order to protect anyone who occupies or uses a commercial property. To prevent injury or death, and to avoid a large fine or possible imprisonment, leases should clearly outline who is accountable for each aspect of health and safety.

If you need help interpreting the clauses of a lease, or if you need guidance on any aspect of Health and Safety, please contact us on 0117 908 3860.

Do I need a Fire Risk Assessment?

If you are the landlord of commercial premises, you will be responsible for undertaking and implementing the findings of a Fire Risk Assessment. However, if you lease the premises to a tenant(s), the lease can stipulate that they are responsible for safety on your commercial premises, and it will fall to them to implement a health and safety risk assessment to determine possible fire risks within the building.

Key things to check when appointing a Health and Safety Consultant to undertake a Fire Risk Assessment for your premises:

  • The Fire Risk Assessment should cover all aspects of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005;
  • The Fire Risk Assessment should not be a tick-box form, it should elaborate on its findings and provide information and findings specific to your premises in every section.
  • The Fire Risk Assessment should involve your workers where possible e.g. does the Fire Risk Assessor ask your employees if they know where the Assembly Point is or how to raise the alarm in the event of a fire?
  • The Fire Risk Assessment should be all-encompassing and assess every aspect of your building, including basements, plant rooms, every door, roof space, ceiling voids, etc.
  • The Fire Risk Assessment should be undertaken by a competent person with the necessary skills, knowledge, training and experience to undertake a Fire Risk Assessment.

Do I need to undertake an Asbestos Survey?

Once a popular fire-retardant material, asbestos is now regarded as a major risk to health, causing lung diseases which are often untreatable. If your building was constructed before the year 2000, there is a possibility that it may contain asbestos – a survey will clarify the situation.

If asbestos is found on the premises, a thorough risk assessment will need to be undertaken by a competent person. The responsibility for managing asbestos usually falls on the Landlord or Building Owner. However, a tenancy agreement can stipulate that the tenant(s) are responsible for safety on the commercial premises, and it will fall to them to implement an asbestos risk assessment to determine actual and possible asbestos risks within the building.

Do I need a Gas Safety Certificate?

It is important that you ensure that all gas appliances in commercial buildings that you occupy are safe for use.  This includes appliances, pipe work and flues.  Safety checks are required to be undertaken and recorded annually in the form of a Gas Safety Certificate.  As a minimum, the record needs to contain:

  • A description and location of each appliance / flue checked;
  • Name, registration number and signature of the engineer who carried out the check;
  • Date on which the check was carried out;
  • The address of the property where the appliance / flue is installed;
  • The name and address of the landlord (or their agent where applicable);
  • Any safety defect identified and any action require or taken to rectify it;
  • Confirmation of the results of the operational safety checks carried out on the appliances.

What is legionella and how do I manage the risks?

Legionella bacteria is common in natural water courses, such as rivers, lakes and reservoirs, and can also be found in purpose-built water systems such as cooling towers, evaporative condensers, hot and cold water systems and spa pools. This bacteria can cause a potentially fatal form of pneumonia known as Legionnaires’ disease and everyone is susceptible to infection.
A full risk assessment of all hot and cold water systems should be carried out to ensure adequate measures are in place to control the risks. This may include controlling the water temperature, undertaking route checks / inspections and cleaning the system, and analysing water samples. (Please note that this list is not exhaustive.)

How do I ensure electrical supplies and equipment are safe in the workplace?

Landlords: Unless you are supplying electrical equipment to tenants, your main responsibility will be to ensure that the wiring in your premises is safe and fit for purpose. This will mean having a certified safety check of your fixed installations undertaken before the premises is let.  Fixed Installation Testing is required every 5 years.

Tenants: You must undertake a risk assessment of the equipment you intend to use in your rented premises and ensure that none of the equipment is faulty or is likely to cause harm.  Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) – the examination of electrical appliances and equipment to ensure they are safe to use – and regular visual checks will be sufficient to find most electrical safety defects.  There is no legal requirements for how often PAT should be undertaken, but the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) outlines a recommended maintenance plan based on a straightforward, inexpensive system of user checks, formal visual inspection and testing.  A Portable Appliance Testing Policy can also provide guidance to your company on how and when to test specific electrical equipment.

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