The new health and safety Act “Health and Safety at Work Act 2015” came into force on 4 April 2016 together with many accompanying regulations. The regulations were released in February 2016, and the fundamental and underlying aspect of the legislation is that safety and protection of people is paramount.
In this regard, commercial property management just like residential property management has a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. WorkSafe New Zealand (see http://www.business.govt.nz/worksafe/) has advised that a commercial property owner/landlord is a “person conducting a business or undertaking” (PCBU). This means that commercial property owners/landlords have a duty of care, so far as is reasonably practicable, to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved with or affected by work on or at the property. WorkSafe New Zealand has advised that this includes the work that is organized or that the owner/landlord has a responsibility for.
People that may be affected include tenants, contractors that are engaged, and members of the public that are visiting the property.
Under the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, a property manager is also a PCBU and will have a duty of care, as far as reasonably practicable, to ensure the health and safety of everybody with or affected by work on the property that they are responsible for. As a commercial property manager, there is also the responsibility for the management and control of the property with the duty that the property that is a work place is without risks to health and safety.
WorkSafe New Zealand also advise that commercial tenants are PCBUs and have the same duty of care as other PCBUs, as far as reasonably practicable to ensure the safety of their workers and others.
If the building is part of a Body Corporate, then the Body Corporate is a PCBU, and again has the same duty of care as other PCBUs, as far as reasonably practicable to ensure the safety of their workers and others.
As a commercial property manager, we will make sure that the Act and its regulations are complied with. In this regard, we ensure that contractors are pre-qualified, and have the necessary skills to undertake the work that they are engaged to perform. Whether this work be large or small the same principles will apply and ensuring safety of the occupants and visitors to the building is paramount. Only registered and pre-qualified contractors are engaged.
We act swiftly to resolve if hazards are identified, notifying our client; and, assist them to affect the removal, repair or remedy of the hazard that has been identified.