One of the most important duties of RUMS, Caretakers and Property Managers is ensuring the scheme is fully up to date with occupational health and safety requirements.
Under current nationally harmonised occupational health and safety legislation, everyone who finds themselves in a workplace has an occupational health and safety obligation. This extends from the RUM’s and the Body Corporate/Owners Corporation committee, who are conducting a business, right through to workers delivering linen or collecting garbage, who have a duty as workers to take reasonable care for their own safety.
The main responsibility or statutory duty lies with the person conducting a business or undertaking. National WorkSafe legislation creates a primary duty of care for a person conducting a business or undertaking. This requires the person to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers who are directly engaged by this person, or whose activities are carried out as directed by this person.
This includes ensuring the provision of safe work environment, safe systems of work, maintenance of plant and structures, and to provide any necessary information, instruction or supervision which is necessary for work to be completed in a safe manner.
What is reasonably practicable for ensuring health and safety is defined in the Act. This includes taking into account and considering relevant matters, including the likelihood of the hazard or the risk occurring, and the degree of harm which may result. The person must then consider the availability of ways to minimise or eliminate the risk. This also includes a consideration of whether the cost of dealing with the issue is grossly disproportionate to the risk.
A Resident Unit Manager, Caretaker or Property Manager in a strata scheme qualifies as a person conducting a business. In terms of responsibilities for occupational health and safety in the operation of their scheme, their responsibilities are to identify risks and hazards, assess these risks, and add control measures to combat these potential risks.
If you’re a RUM, Caretaker or Property Manager wondering exactly what is required when discharging obligations under the Act, it’s not dissimilar to asking how long a piece of string is. There are any number of potential risks and hazards in a strata scheme, but it should be noted many are ultimately low risk, minimal hazards, for which the danger can be further reduced if simple precautions are taken.
Placing a pool fence around a pool greatly diminishes the risk of a child or a worker onsite inadvertently falling into a pool, as well as complying with other legislation. However it would be grossly disproportionate to further attempt to eliminate the risk of a pool by having a round the clock lifeguard at a strata scheme with a small number of residents.
This sort of risk and hazard assessment is a vital role which one must undertake. It is a responsibility which while must adhere to legislative standards, must be also undertaken with a degree of practical and common sense thinking.
If you require advice on ensuring you fully understand your occupational health and safety responsibilities, talk to Star Building Management Services. Our qualified and experienced staff can advise you on the details of your scheme, to ensure all risks and hazards are fully considered and minimised as best as possible.