NHMF best practice

These two new best practice sections will help social landlords to maintain quality homes in an increasingly challenging economic environment. The Compliance Section has a set of topical guides summarising social landlords’ responsibilities for meeting essential statutory health and safety requirements and explain how to do this economically and efficiently. The Fuel Saving Section explains how to include a fuel saving strategy as a key aspect of an organisation’s business plan. The Guide then sets out how to develop a practical improvement strategy as an integral part of the asset management programme and how to successfully deliver the improvements and manage the risks. There are also best practice training courses which relate to this guide.

Communal - External

Tree Management

Should include an up-to-date tree survey and risk assessment showing the location and condition of any hazardous trees (see NHMF 2015 Bulletin). Maintenance of trees, any work should be carried out to a minimum of BS 3998:2010 Tree work recommendations, with advice published by the Arboricultural Association.

Tree surgery and felling – works should comply with:

  • Relevant Forest Industry Safety Guides applicable at the time.

  • HSE has published guidance on ‘Working with chainsaws’ that includes training and competence in the use of chainsaws and the use of appropriate protective and safety equipment. HSENI has published guidance on farm safety that includes specific guidance on chainsaw safety.

  • Operatives should supply and erect all necessary warning and direction notices, cones, barriers and tapes to exclude members of the public from the working zone. The working zone should ensure that the tree and all equipment used remain within it.

  • Where work is carried out on the public highway, operatives should make the necessary arrangements with the Police and ensure that requirements of the ‘Traffic Signs Regulations and General Conditions 1981’ and subsequent amendments, are adhered to, along with the requirements of Chapter 8 of the ‘Traffic Signs Manual’ and subsequent amendments.

Litter collection and disposal comply with the Food and Environmental Protection Act (FEPA). All areas should be maintained up to the Grade A - No litter or refuse standard. Dog faeces should be cleared, as detailed under the FEPA and the Litter (Animal Droppings) Order (1991). Operatives should comply with the Control of Pollution Act (1974). Where pesticides are used they should comply with the following guidelines and legislation, as amended or superseded from time to time:

  • The Food and Environmental Protection Act (1985) (FEPA).

  • The Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 (COPR).

  • The Health and Safety at Work etc., Act (1974).

  • The Water Act (1989).

  • The Control of Pollution Act (1974).

  • The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (1988) (COSHH).

Landlords need to manage external refuse and recycling areas as part of their general duty of care, including dealing with unauthorised dumping of waste and ensuring any hazardous waste is properly disposed of (see Asbestos). They also have to reduce fire risks from refuse to maintain fire safety (see Fire safety).

All cleaning materials should be COSHH approved and supported by written certification. In addition, landlords need to ensure that operatives comply with The Work at Height Regulations 2005 for both external cleaning of windows and for those in common parts. HSE has published guidance to explain organisations’ responsibilities and to help them comply with these regulations.

In addition to ensuring electrical safety (see Electrical safety), landlords need to ensure that communal aerials and satellite systems are securely fixed to buildings. Any external equipment needs to be suitably housed in weatherproof enclosures and fire safety should be maintained where cables are routed within buildings. Operatives installing and maintaining communal TV aerials should comply with The Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Equipment should comply with the following standards and codes of practice, as well as industry good practice:-

The workmanship, installation, and testing of the lightning protection system should conform in all respects with BS EN 62305:2011. BSI has also published a guide. See Electrical safety.


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