Changes to the Health & Safety Work Act
With all the attention in the media this month regarding the implications of these changes, we have correlated this article with exerts taken from NZPIF and Health and Safety Reform that we think best summarises the changes and its effect on Real Estate companies and Landlords alike.
WorkSafe explained that the new laws were primarily aimed at reducing the number of serious accidents and deaths in workplaces. Prosecutions are for serious breaches or repeated offences. As most serious accidents happen in high risk work environments, rental property owners will only be marginally affected. However it is still extremely important to know what your requirements are as a rental owner.
Under the Act, landlords become PCBUs (a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) and as such, will have a primary duty of care that includes the safety of all persons on site. Landlords will be required to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, 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 a person’. (The rental property is a ‘workplace’).
Changes in the Health & Safety Legislation will also have an impact on the contractors you use to maintain your investment properties. The changes mean:
- Contractors will need to be certified for the their particular profession. Plumbing, as fitting, electrical, building etc
- It will be the contractor’s responsibility to remain compliant by maintaining their licence annually. However, it will be the owner’s responsibility to ensure that they only engage a contractor with a valid licence
- The Contractors will need to have suitable indemnity insurance
- Failure to contract suitable and licensed tradespeople becomes the owner’s responsibility and they may be liable if they fail to meet the new standards.
Property owners need to be aware of their obligations. Your Whittle Knight & Boatwood Ltd Property Manager has taken the steps to have all our contractors on contractor agreements. Our contractors only carry out work they are qualified to do. The lawn mowing man is not fixing the roof, and the cleaner is not carrying out electrical work.
Should you choose to engage your own tradespeople to carry out work to your property(ies), rather than engaging our contractors, you would need to email your property manager to confirm that the tradespeople you have engaged meet all the requirements and are competent and qualified to undertake the work you have engaged them to do. For example we don’t want anyone other than a registered qualified electrician working on electrical work – no handymen please! Should something go wrong as a result of using non-qualified tradespeople i.e. using the handyman rather than the electrician to carry out electrical work, the fines imposed by HSW Act start at $15,000 upwards.