Health and Safety Conference 2017 round-up

The NHC’s second annual Health and Safety in Housing Conference brought more than 80 delegates to The Met Hotel in Leeds on 6th July 2017 to hear from a wide variety of senior health and safety practitioners.

Our guest speakers delivered guidance on how to provide more with less and shared key insights across a long list of Health and Safety issues and concerns.

This year saw sessions from Duncan Smith of the Health and Safety Executive and Jack Lee on behalf of the Homes and Communities Agency among many more.

Workshop Insights

“Non-compliance [of health and safety regulations] has implications for registered providers’ reputation. Reputation is easy to lose and hard to win back and putting things right can be a big drain on money, time and focus. Better to not get it wrong in the first place.”

Consumer Regulation: Jack Lee, Assistant Director – Investigation & Enforcement, HCA

“The Acts deal with civil liability, not criminal liability. Thus an occupier cannot be prosecuted under these Acts but can be sued in the civil courts for damages”

Occupiers Liability Act 1957 & 1984: Simon Thirtle, Associate, Ward Hadaway

“It is vital buildings are protected against fire but equally key that people are educated about the risks. People don’t react to fire quick enough because they don’t see it enough.”

WYFRS Leeds District Fire Safety: Kathryn Richards, Leeds District Prevention Manager, West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service

“The twin goals of increasing levels of staff wellbeing and engagement should be a major priority for UK business leaders – you can’t have one without the other”

Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace and Reasonable Adjustments: Heidi Thompson (Director of Property) & Penny Gilyard (Director of Resources), Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing [quoting Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing, Mind]

“A hostel was fined £44,000 because the owners failed to ensure an asbestos survey was carried out prior to refurbishment… They believed the contractor would have arranged it.”

Asbestos Management: Alison Harvey, Group Compliance Manager, County Durham Housing Group

“There are no legal or enforcement powers for landlords to specifically tackle hoarding in residential dwellings and legal action is expensive and may not be successful. All agencies should work to achieve the best outcome for the individual.”

Hoarding: Rachael Swales, Head of Housing & Customer Services, Livin

“10 million tonnes of construction products are wasted each year at a cost of £1.5 billion. A reduction of just 1% would save the industry £15 million each year.”

Practical Environmental Measures: Martin Flack, Hazardous Waste Regulatory Officer, Environment Agency – Yorkshire and Humber

A selection of photos from the event

After the conference finished, event organiser and NHC Member Engagement Manager Callum Smith commented:

“The attendance for this year’s conference was considerably higher than the previous year demonstrating the importance of health and safety and compliance in housing within the sector.

There were a wide range of sessions on the day covering everything from fire and gas safety to hoarding and legionella. The event encouraged a high level of discussion and lots of networking opportunities.

It is definitely an event we will be repeating next year with suggestions for sessions already rolling in, including fire safety in sheltered accommodation and lift safety and maintenance.”