A human resources company leasing premises in a multi-tenanted office block has concerns about lift maintenance but who is legally responsible?
In this case, there is a shared duty of care for lift maintenance in a multi-tenanted office block. All businesses have a duty of care as a person conducting a business or undertaking to ensure the health and safety of their workers and clients visiting its offices.
At the same time, the building owner and property manager have duties as persons with management or control of the building to ensure people can safely enter and exit the building and that the building is safe and without risk to others.
A company contracted to maintain and repair lifts (maintenance contractor) has a duty to ensure that its workers and other persons are not put at risk from work carried out as part of its business.
Each of these duties is subject to what is reasonably practicable, so what is best practice?
Stage 1: Consultation
The human resources company consults the property manager to find out what arrangements are in place for the proper maintenance of plant such as air-conditioning systems and lifts.
Before maintenance is to be carried out on the lifts the property manager consults with the maintenance contractor, the tenants and the cleaning contractor so that all duty holders know of the work and what they each need to do to ensure the safety of persons in the building. This includes identifying the best time for the work to be done, how the work area will be barricaded and what information, if any, the finance company will need to give to its workers and clients.
As the work proceeds, the human resources company informs the property manager and the maintenance contractor of any concerns or incidents, to enable these to be considered and any changes made.
Stage two: Cooperation
The human resources company and other tenants cooperate with the maintenance contractor by complying with contractor’s safety procedures.
Stage three: Coordinating activities
The human resources company ensures that its workers and clients do not use the lifts during the maintenance work and that they have another safe means of entry and exit.
The maintenance contractor works with the property manager to schedule maintenance work so that it does not interfere with the safe movement of persons in the building, as far as is reasonably practicable.
One of the key challenges for businesses is the positive obligation to “consult,cooperate and coordinate” with other businesses including contractors.
This piece of legislation in the HSWAct 2015 has been introduced primarily to reduce the risk to workers arising when several businesses work together. As the number of parties involved increases, so do the risks to the health and safety of workers – arising from miscommunication between parties.
It is imperative that you monitor and understand the safety standards of the companies you work with. Let HRtoolkit show you how.