What impact does new Health and Safety legislation have on your property?
Over the past 18 months there have been several changes to Health and Safety legislation that has impact on commercial property ownership. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 landlords are now classed as a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) and has a primary duty of care that includes the safety of all persons on site. So far as is reasonably practicable, PCBUs must ensure that a workplace and the means of entering and exiting a workplace and anything arising from the workplace are "without risks to the health and safety of any person".
In terms of commercial property ownership this will extend to tenants and their employees, contractors and members of the public. It is therefore important that landlords have Health and Safety front of mind for their investments, ensuring that a building is well maintained and that an annual risk audit is undertaken. This will help to identify risks that can be addressed.
The most recent change, on 4 April 2018, is the requirement for all PCBUs in control of workplaces to have an Asbestos Management Plan in place. The Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 require building owners to identify all materials within a workplace that may pose a risk of exposure to respirable asbestos fibres and develop a plan to manage that exposure risk.
At CBRE, our Asset Services team and Health and Safety Advisor have undertaken Asbestos Management surveys over our managed portfolio that will:
1. Identify any asbestos containing materials (ACM) on site likely to be disturbed through routine management and maintenance.
2. Assess the risk of ACM and implement control measures. Subject to the condition and location of ACM, there are alternatives in managing these materials without the cost of removal.
3. Develop an Asbestos Management Plan that outlines how to manage the identified ACM.
CBRE ensures that the information from the Asbestos Management Plan is recorded in the property’s risk register and shared with all parties that may have a risk of being exposed to asbestos fibres. This provides our landlords with confidence that their tenants, contractors working on their site and any visitors to their buildings will be protected from exposure.
Asbestos was widely used in construction in the 1960s through to 1980s due to its fireproof nature. It is composed of many small fibres that can cause fatal health problems if inhaled, such as mesothelioma. There have been over 12,000 estimated deaths arising from asbestos-related causes in New Zealand. If in good condition and undisturbed, asbestos is not harmful. If it is broken or becomes friable it can release its fibres in to the air and may be inhaled.
Due to the changing climate in Health and Safety, landlords need to be actively involved with the management and impact of regulations on their property. CBRE can help landlords manage regulatory compliance and any Health and Safety concerns. Contact us today to find out more.