Safety is everyone’s business. And as a Committee Member on an Owners Corporation you may have additional legal responsibilities you may not be aware of.
Those duties include keeping up to date with, and adhering to, all applicable laws. This includes planning; building; fire and safety inspections and work, health and safety laws.
Work Health & Safety laws apply to any Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU). This means if at any time the Owners Corporation (even of a wholly residential building) employs a worker, hires a contractor or has a volunteer worker on the common property, they are subject to the WHS Act and Regulations.
It is important to be continuously vigilant to meet WHS requirements to guard against any potential claim.
There is an onus on the Owners Corporation to demonstrate that is has been proactive to reduce, and keep reduced, the risks onsite.
Find out more about the obligation here: https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/strata-and-community-living/strata-schemes/responsibilities-of-the-owners-corporation)
And there are a number of things your community can do to fulfil this obligation.
Commission a Risk Assessment Report
For your Owners Corporation to show they have identified and addressed any risks, a Risk Assessment Report should be performed annually by an individual holding a Certificate IV in Workplace Health and Safety. By identifying and addressing any risks, your Owners Corporation meets its obligations under the Act.
And the potential risks on Owners Corporation property are numerous. They include:
This is not an exhaustive list. As the Owners Corporation you need to take steps to ensure the risks are addressed. You can do this by discharging the responsibility to an expert like Star BMS.
Maintain a register of contractors which lists approved licensed and reputable contractors. This protects you from unsafe workmanship and losses. It also provides you with a record of contractors who have entered the premises.
Check that contractors are insured for the work they will be performing. Keep copies of their insurance documents in an Indemnity Register.
Under the WHS Act, workers must take reasonable care of their own health and safety. Contractors should provide you with a Safe Working Method Statement, which you should keep in a register. This covers the Owners Corporation from liability in the event of an incident where the statement was not followed.
All Registers and Statements become part of the permanent Owners Corporation records. The Registers and Statements should be reviewed at meetings.
Star Building Management Services (Star BMS) is a facilities management company established in 1992 to meet the growing need for quality asset management in the Owners Corporation sector.
For more than two decades, Star BMS has earned a reputation for providing superior service to our clients.
Our services include: