How we’re keeping you safe in your home during the coronavirus crisis
01 June 2020
Over the last couple of months, we’ve been working hard to ensure that our homes and buildings remain safe for our residents. The HSE and our Regulator have made it clear that all landlords must continue to maintain health and safety compliance despite the challenges faced by coronavirus (Covid-19) and restrictions put in place by the Government. Throughout this time, we’ve worked with our contractors to continue servicing and maintaining health and safety equipment including fire safety, electrical and gas systems in our homes and building. We would like to thank all of you who have continued to support us by providing access to your home and maintaining good communication with us so we can complete health and safety checks.
Changes we’ve made to ensure we can maintain compliance
As well as being dedicated to maintaining compliance we also understand the various needs of our residents. With this in mind, we’ve adopted a flexible appointment system which allows you to move appointments if you or a member of your household is in a high-risk category, shielding or self-isolating. If you’ve received an appointment letter for any one of our health and safety servicing programmes such as gas, electrical or water checks, and feel that you fall into one of these categories then please contact us on 0300 373 3000 so that we can discuss alternative appointment dates and how we can meet your needs.
All of our contractors are strictly following Government guidance when it comes to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and working safely in our homes. We’re consistently reviewing our contractors safe working practises to ensure they are fit for purpose and in line with the latest Government guidance.
AJS, our fire safety contractors who we use to maintain and service all of our fire safety equipment, has just released a short video showing what measures they've put in place to protect customers, employees and clients. You can find out more and watch the video on their website at www.ajs.co.uk/covid-19.
Below we’ve provided an update for the five largest safety compliance areas:
Our gas contractors have continued to deliver our gas servicing programme, which includes the annual gas safety check, throughout the coronavirus crisis. Their efforts, alongside those of our own team and residents, have meant we’ve been able to maintain 100% compliance for both March and April 2020. This is an incredible achievement given the circumstances and we continue to work hard to maintain it over the coming months. We’re now working with contractors to start back our routine and replacement works programmes.
Following Government advice regarding essential travel we made the decision, along with our contractor, to temporarily suspend our electrical testing programmes. We’re gradually restarting the programme again. In April we began carrying out electrical checks in the communal areas of the buildings we manage. In May we restarted our electrical testing programme for residents’ homes. We’ve decided to not restart the electrical programme for our sheltered housing and key worker accommodation at this time but will do later in the year.
We temporarily stopped all non-emergency jobs, including testing, following the Government advice. In April, after careful consideration and reviewing the situation, we restarted our communal inspections and testing. We also restarted our sprinkler testing programme in May. We continued to complete Fire Risk Assessments for our buildings throughout the coronavirus crisis. Until the end of May, we were completing off site reviews of our sheltered accommodation and supported living homes, however from 1 June we've been completing Fire Risk Assessments for these buildings in person as previously done before the outbreak of coronavirus.
We have continued to deliver repairs, servicing and statutory inspections for all lifting equipment. We’re in the process of reviewing outstanding major repairs and refurbishment to determine when it’s appropriate to start them back. We will let you know in advance If we plan to begin working on these types of repairs in your building.
We continued to deliver communal testing programmes throughout the current situation. Our water risk assessment was suspended in agreement with our contractor but we restarted them this month (June). We continue to complete urgent remedial works following a risk assessment, but we’ve had to stop routine works and we’re looking at timescales for starting this programme again.
Health and safety advice to remember that will help keep you and your family safe
- Use electrical equipment safely - Since the Government’s lockdown restrictions were introduced, more people have been working from home. This means more electronic devices are being charged and used. Remember to stay safe by ensuring you following the manufacturer’s advice and you don’t leave electronics on charge unattended.
- Test smoke detectors weekly - You should always have working smoke detectors in your home. You should test the detectors weekly by pressing the ‘test’ button. Detectors are designed to give you an early warning if a fire starts in your home. If you think your smoke detector is not working, please call us on 0300 373 3000.
- Keep communal areas clear – it’s important you keep communal areas clear of personal items and rubbish so that fire escape routes are safe. We’ve noticed that with an increasing amount of people being at home, communal areas are not being kept clear. In the interest of your safety, we have a zero tolerance policy regarding this and will remove items we find in communal areas.
For more advice on how to stay safe in your home visit our health and safety section on our website.
Updated 17 June 2020