Fire Safety, Common Parts Policy OUR MISSION

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1 Fire Safety, Common Parts Policy OUR MISSION To deliver excellent, customer focused and cost effective housing services to all our residents

2 Please feel free to get in touch with us if: You feel this document is not as clear and easy to read as you would expect; or You believe that we aren t doing the things that this document says we will do; or You just want to talk to someone about this document Whatever the reason, if you want to talk to us about this document you should contact: Susan Holbrook, Head of Neighbourhoods via Customer Care on Approved by : Sara Tutton Effective from : March 2013 Due for review : March 2014 Revision status : 1 Owner and reviewer : Susan Holbrook

3 The Policy Sutton Housing Partnership (SHP) is responsible for managing blocks of flats on behalf of the London Borough of Sutton. SHP has specific responsibilities for making sure that the structure of buildings and the communal areas within them meet fire and safety requirements. This includes ensuring that communal areas are free from stored and decorative items that may obstruct escape from the block in an emergency. SHP has developed this policy to support the requirements of its Health and Safety Policy, the Fire Safety Policy and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) to manage the use of communal areas of blocks of flats by residents and their visitors. This policy was developed in conjunction with guidance from the following authoritative documents. Fire Safety in Purpose Built Blocks of Flats (Local Government Group) 2011 Housing Fire Safety (LACoRS) 2008 Fire Risk Assessment Sleeping Accommodation (Department of Communities and Local Government) 2006 This policy complies with SHP s Health and Safety Policy, Fire Safety Policy, and other relevant polices and should be read in conjunction with them. This Policy applies to: All SHP employees Interim and temporary staff Residents and their visitors Consultants Contractors Contractors and others working in common parts of blocks of flats will be expected to comply with SHP s Fire Safety policy and procedures and Fire Safety, Common Parts policy.

4 This policy will be reviewed annually by the Head of Neighbourhoods supported by the Health and Safety Team and Fire Safety Group. This policy will also be reviewed as a result of changes to fire safety legislation or following a significant fire within a communal area. Commitments SHP is committed to a managed use approach for the common parts of blocks of flats. This approach enables SHP to limit the items allowed in common parts in order to reduce the risk of fires in blocks of flats by controlling combustible materials and ignition sources so far as is reasonably practicable. SHP regards the management of common parts as integral to the way we conduct our business and comply with our legal duties. All employees and others who work for and with SHP are expected to co-operate with the effective implementation of this policy. Failure to comply with this policy by either action or inaction may result in disciplinary action or the termination of contracts and cancellation of agreements, or in very serious case civil or criminal prosecution. SHP inspects the common parts of blocks of flats as part of day to day operational activities, for example, tenancy visits, routine cleaning and inspection, estate walkabouts, repair inspections and ad hoc visits. All staff involved in any of these activities are responsible for reporting breaches of this policy to the Neighbourhood team. If residents breach the terms of this policy SHP will take enforcement action which may include the removal of non permitted items or items that obstruct escape routes and arrange disposal. Roles and Responsibilities SHP recognises the importance of clearly defined management responsibilities to implement the Fire Safety, Common Part Policy and to facilitate the contribution of individuals to achieve its health and safety objectives.

5 The Board The Board will: Promote a positive health ad safety culture throughout the organisation by providing strong leadership and commitment to continuous improvement Set the general strategic direction for the Fire Safety, Common Parts Ensure that any decisions made reflect the health and safety intentions articulated in the Fire safety, Common Parts policy Be kept informed of safety issues that impact on the use of common parts through reports from the Executive Director, Property, or the Head of Neighbourhoods Chief Executive The Chief Executive is ultimately responsible for: Ensuring adequate arrangements are in place for the implementation, maintenance and monitoring and revision of this policy Ensuring that the management of common parts is regarded as an integral function of management Ensuring adequate resources are made available to help achieve minimum legal compliance Executive Management Team (EMT) EMT members are responsible for: Ensuring the management of common parts is embedded in the day to day operations and business planning of the organisation Ensuring that staff adequately manage the Fire Safety, common parts work under their control Ensuring that the fire safety, common parts training needs for all staff are addressed and fulfilled Ensuring that their staff are aware of their personal responsibilities and that they themselves, are aware of their personal responsibilities Ensuring that any matters that impact on fire risk assessments for the common parts of blocks are dealt with, with input from the lead fire safety officer as required

6 Implementing and monitoring any identified fire safety risk management controls within their designated area(s) and scope of responsibility Receive regular reports from their staff on fire safety performance in common parts Ensuring their staff report and investigate breaches of the fire safety, common parts policy. Managers All SHP managers, defined as anyone who manages staff or contractors; working communal areas of blocks of flats are responsible for: Ensuring that the use of common parts policy is embedded in the day to day operations and business planning of the organisation Ensuring that staff adequately manage the use of common parts work under their control Ensuring that the use of common parts training needs for all staff are addressed and fulfilled Ensuring that their staff are aware of their personal responsibilities and that they, themselves, are aware of their personal responsibilities Ensuring that any matters that impact on fire risk assessments for the common parts of blocks are dealt with, with input from the lead fire safety officer as required Implementing and monitoring any identified fire safety risk management controls within their designated area(s) and scope of responsibility Receiving regular reports from their staff on safety performance in common parts Ensuring their staff report and investigate breaches of the Use of Common Parts policy Managers will implement the policy by: Ensuring they have adequate knowledge and or access to all fire safety legislation relevant to their area to maintain compliance Ensuring that adequate resources are available to provide safe systems of work Ensuring that they assess the training needs of their staff and that their staff receive appropriate training

7 Promoting greater risk management and fire safety awareness amongst staff and contractors Monitoring and investigating any breaches of the Fire Safety, Common Parts policy Employing competent contractors and consultants who co-operate as appropriate in the implementation of this policy. Seeking advice and information for the lead safety office for fire or SHP Health and Safety team Employees All employees, regardless of their position, have a duty to take reasonable care of the health and safety of themselves and of other persons who could be affected their acts or omissions. In particular they have responsibility to: Take reasonable care for their own health and safety and that of all others including residents who may be affected by anything they do or fail to do in relation to use of common parts policy whilst at work; Comply with this policy, all SHP requirements, instructions, procedures and policies; Co-operate with supervisory and management staff to ensure that all relevant statutory regulations, policies and procedures in respect of the use of common parts are adhered to; Participate in any training designed to improve their knowledge, skills and understanding about fire safety; Report to their manager all faults, hazards, errors, accidents/incidents, near misses, dangerous occurrences or damage related to fire safety, regardless of whether anyone is injured; Be aware of the fire risk assessment process for common parts and its relevance to their roles; Co-operate in the investigation of any fire safety incident in common parts. Lead Safety Officer The lead safety officer for fire, Head of Repairs and Allocations, will act as SHP s competent person under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and will plan, advise and monitor the organisations compliance with the Fire

8 Safety Order and other relevant fire safety statutory provisions. He/she is responsible for: providing advice on fire safety; supporting the implementation of the SHP Fire Safety policy and the Use of Common Parts policy; advising on the development of appropriate policies and procedures to manage the use of common parts; advising and supporting SHP managers and staff to fulfil their functions; reporting to the organisation any actions relating to fire safety taken by enforcement agencies, both formal and informal, and monitoring progress made by SHP in complying with those actions; monitoring the fire safety performance of the organisation and making regular reports to the Chief Executive, SHP Fire Safety Group and the Health and Safety Committee; assisting with the investigation of serious fire safety incidents, or investigating directly; managing the fire risk assessment programme; monitoring the activities of teams and individuals whose work may impact on fire safety in common areas; Monitoring periodic inspection arrangements for communal areas in blocks of flats to ensure compliance with the FSO. Fire Safety Group The Fire Safety Group is responsible for: supporting the implementation of the SHP use of Common Parts Policy and related policies including Fire Safety Policy; providing competent advice for achieving compliance with legislative requirements and safe practice; encouraging a positive culture and instilling best practice principles; supporting SHP staff on fire safety matters; investigating incidents and complaints; undertaking any projects; taking the lead on particular areas, issues, projects or contractors; Reporting on their activities to the Health and Safety Committee.

9 Summary Our current organisation in relation to health and safety (including fire safety) is summarised overleaf. Health and Safety Organisation The Board Board Health and Safety Champion Chief Executive Health and Safety Committee Chair Executive Director (Property) Health and Safety Advisor Facilities Officer Executive Management Team Executive Director (Neighbourhoods) Lead Safety Officer (Asbestos) HR Administrator Executive Director (Strategy) Lead Safety Officer (Construction) Health and Safety Committee Lead Safety Officer (Electrical) Management Team Lead Safety Officer (External Services) Fire Safety Group Lead Safety Officer (Fire) Lead Safety Officer (Gas) Lead Safety Officer (Sheltered) Health and Safety Consultants Health and Safety Administrator Staff Health and Safety Committee Reps

10 Trade Unions Health and Safety Representatives Members of the Health and Safety Team Members of the Health and Safety Committee

11 Arrangements The managed use approach for the common parts of blocks of flats enables SHP to limit the items allowed in common parts in order to reduce the risk of fires in blocks of flats by controlling combustible materials and ignition sources so far as is reasonably practicable in order to maintain access and egress from a block in the event of a fire or other emergency. In communal areas Residents are permitted to: Place live plants in pots on a window sill Have a small door mat outside the front door which lays flat A small number of framed pictures In communal areas Residents are not permitted to store: bicycles, prams and mobility scooters unless they are in places out of the way which will not cause an obstruction combustible materials e.g. paper, books plastic or fabric plants and flowers rubbish awaiting disposal furniture BBQs motorcycles, mowers and other gardening equipment containing petrol or other fuels plastic or timber sheds or lockers hazardous chemicals, gas containers, or flammable liquids in the communal area or storage cabinets, dedicated storerooms or cupboards DIY materials or tools barbecues electrical appliances, such as tumble dryers and washing machines toys and play furniture recycling materials bedding, clothing and shoes curtains, including nets food or other organic matter items that present a hazard, such as panes of glass any other bulky items 4

12 In addition residents are not allowed to charge mobility scooters, batteries or other electrical equipment in common parts. Where goods that are not permitted, are found to be located in a communal area, SHP will give notice to residents to remove said items. If ownership of items is unknown, a notice will be attached to the item. However, goods that present a significant fire risk will be removed immediately without notice. Failure to remove such goods will result in SHP removing the items to a place of storage for a period one month [in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 1982]. Any goods that are not reclaimed will be disposed of without compensation. The costs associated with removal, storage and disposal may be re-charged to the resident concerned. Appropriate legal action may be taken against any person who persistently breaches rules relating to the use of communal areas. Management of the Risk We will undertake suitable and sufficient fire risk assessments of the communal areas in blocks of flats and sheltered housing schemes as required, to assess whether risks are adequately controlled and to identify further measures to be taken to eliminate or reduce the risk further. Risk assessments will be managed by the lead safety officer for fire. SHP will employ suitably qualified consultants to carry out fire risk assessments, supported by the lead safety officer for fire when required. Managers are expected to: recognise the need for fire risk assessments and to ensure that these are considered before maintenance, servicing, major works or improvement activities take place; only let works proceed when fire risks have been properly assessed and appropriate control measures are in place; attend any fire safety training they need to enable them to fulfil these aspects of their role; ensure that residents, staff or others working in communal areas will have access to the fire risk assessments. 5

13 Fire risk assessments will be reviewed at regular periods to ensure that their findings remain valid in accordance with the requirements of the Fire Safety policy. Training and Information All staff are required to undertake fire safety awareness training as part of their induction. This will include information on the fire safety policy and procedures, fire risk assessments, and information on safe systems of work, as well as any particular risks from the person s job or role. Relevant staff, whether employees, interims or contractors, must receive their fire safety induction at the earliest opportunity and it is the line manager s responsibility to ensure that their new staff receive this induction. It is also the line manager s responsibility to ensure that the fire safety training needs of their staff are assessed and fulfilled. Further specific fire safety training relevant to each individual s role and responsibilities will be provided. SHP will communicate relevant fire safety issues through the intranet and other appropriate means. The lead safety officer for fire will maintain relevant fire safety information, including policies and procedures on the SHP intranet. Fire risk assessments will be held on a database in the Property Directorate. He will advise relevant staff of the location of this information and of any significant changes. All managers are required to ensure that their staff are made aware of the Fire Safety policy and its contents, and of other fire safety policies, procedures or information relevant to the job. Serious and Imminent Danger Where a serious and imminent safety danger to any person arises in the common parts of a block, any person, without exception, who notices such a situation, or if such a situation is brought to their attention, must take all reasonably practicable action to eliminate or adequately control the danger. 5

14 Accident, Incident Investigation Fire safety incidents in common parts will require investigation, in accordance with the separate policy on incident investigation and reporting. The investigation is the responsibility of SHP managers (supported by the lead safety officer), for incidents involving SHP staff and residents and visitors, and contractors and consultants on premises or in operations they control. In addition to the policy on incident investigation and reporting, the Chief Executive, any member of the EMT or the lead safety officer for fire may require any incident to be investigated. The Health and Safety Advisor will review all accidents and incidents to consider if they are reportable to the HSE under RIDDOR. Audit, Monitoring and Review All health and safety policies, guidelines and procedures (incl. Fire Safety, common parts policy) will be regularly audited, monitored and reviewed by the Fire Safety Group. The timescales will depend upon the particular issues and whether there is a need for early review (e.g. because of learning from incidents or changes to legislation). Compliance against health and safety management (including fire safety, Common Parts policy) requirements is monitored through a variety of processes including internal and external audits. The effectiveness of health and safety training will be evaluated and reviewed on an ongoing basis by the Health and Safety Committee. Fire safety performance indicators will be provided to assist in monitoring performance. These include compliance in respect of Fire Risk Assessments, common parts inspections and fire safety incidents. These indicators will reflect national standards and measures required by the enforcing authorities. 5

15 Glossary of Terms CDM The Construction, Design and Management (CDM) Regulations 2007 apply to all common building, civil engineering and engineering construction work. A CDM coordinator will be appointed if the construction work is expected to either last longer than 30 days or involve more than 500 person days of construction work. Common Part Any lobby, corridor or staircase, shared by more than one property, which is used as a means of access to or egress from the block by residents. Hazard A hazard is anything that may cause harm, such as chemicals, electricity, working from ladders, an open drawer etc. HSE Health and Safety Executive. HSE's job is to protect people against risks to health or safety arising out of work activities with statutory powers under the Health and Safety at Work Act Reasonably Practicable This is a legal qualification applied to many health and safety provisions. The Health and Safety Executive define reasonably practicable in the following way: In deciding what is reasonably practicable the seriousness of the risk can be weighed against the difficulty and cost of removing or reducing it. In considering the cost no allowance should be made for the size, nature or profitability of the business concerned. Where the difficulty and cost are high and a careful assessment of the risk shows it to be comparatively unimportant, action may not need to be taken. On the other hand where the risk is high, action must be taken at whatever cost. In other words the organisation would not be expected to spend a great deal of money where the risk of injury or ill health is insignificant but would be expected to spend money remedying a problem where the risk of injury or ill health is high or could lead to fatalities. 6

16 Arrangements RIDDOR The Reporting of Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 which require employers (etc.) to report cases of fatalities and certain serious injuries occurring in work places. It also requires employers to report any cases where employees have been off sick or unable to carry out their normal duties for seven days or more, and cases of occupation-related diseases e.g. occupational dermatitis. Risk Risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody could be harmed by these and other hazards, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be. Risk Assessment (Fire) For the purpose of this document, a process of assessing what can cause fire within a building, the nature and consequences of that fire and whether precautions in place to reduce the risk of fire are adequate or if not, deciding what steps are needed to reduce the risk. The risk assessment must be carried out by a competent person with suitable qualifications and experience. RRFSO The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) clarifies the previous system of fire safety with an onus on risk assessment rather than fire precaution. Records and References Notting Hill Housing Communal Area Storage July 2012 Safety in Communal Areas Bpha Mobility scooter policy Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) SHP - Health and Safety Policy

17 Putting Customers First Making Services Accessible To All Achieving Value For Money Providing Quality Homes Creating Safe, Welcoming Neighbourhoods 7

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