It’s no secret that legislations form a large part of facilities management, and — to make matters more complicated — they’re constantly evolving. In recent years, as serious issues such as climate change and COVID-19 have impacted the way businesses operate, facilities managers have had to stay ahead of the curve.
Unfortunately, with so many regulations to remember and implement, the risk of non-compliance is high. That’s why we’ve put together this helpful guide, which will explain the top six facilities management legislations you need to know. We’ll also share how facility management software ensures that your organisation is running compliantly. Read on to learn more.
Why Legal Compliance in Facilities Management is Important
When managing facilities, it’s crucial to ensure that your operations are running compliantly. Failure to do so could mean you damage the following:
In today’s digital world, news — good or bad — can spread and even go viral online in a matter of minutes. So, if your business is found to be operating non-compliantly, there’s a chance your customers will find out and potentially cut ties with you. In fact, 41% of people in the UK say they would stop using a company following a security breach.
Breaches of specific laws will mean that an organisation must cease operating until it has rectified the errors. Depending on how long it takes to resolve the issues, the downtime could significantly impact your ability to deliver services and make a profit.
Worse still, your employees may not feel comfortable working for an organisation with a poor compliance record — especially if you’ve breached health and safety laws. As such, you’ll lose out on the best talent and won’t be as competitive in the market.
Did you know that the cost of non-compliance is typically double the amount it costs to follow all rules and regulations? In addition to fines, a damaged reputation and halted operations also prevent you from bringing more money in, making it even more challenging to recover following an incident.
Staying Safe in the Workplace: The Top 6 Facilities Management Legislations
Here are the top six facilities management legislations you must be aware of:
1. Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations
The UK Government introduced the Health and Safety at Work Regulations in 1999 to reinforce the Health and Safety Act of 1974. They clearly explain what employers must do to apply health and safety measures to every work-related activity. There are certain duties that both employers and employees are required to follow, including:
Employer Duties — Risk Assessment
The primary employer duty within the Health and Safety at Work Regulations is to undertake a risk assessment to identify any potential hazards to people on-site. Aside from being good practice, it is also a legal requirement to document your findings if you employ five or more people.
Once you’ve carried out your risk assessment, you must then make arrangements to implement health and safety measures to control or eliminate the hazards you identified. For each potential danger, you will need to assess the severity and apply the hierarchy of risk control to ensure that you’ve adequately handled the situation.
Want to learn more about how to conduct a risk assessment? Click here to read our in-depth guide.
Employer Duties — General
As an employer, you must appoint at least one competent person — usually from within your organisation — to manage health and safety procedures and ensure that you’re complying with legislation. It is then their responsibility to do the following:
- Provide everyone on-site (including temp workers and contractors) with necessary health and safety information in an understandable format.
- Arrange for every employee to receive health and safety training.
- Prevent workers from being given tasks beyond their competence or physical capabilities.
If you’re sharing your premises with another employer, you will need to coordinate your health and safety activities. For example, you should exchange any information from your risk assessment and include details about the preventative measures you’ve put in place.
The majority of the responsibility falls with the employer when it comes to staying safe in the workplace; however, the Health and Safety at Work Regulations do include certain employee duties. They must:
- Report health and safety shortcomings
- Report dangerous situations
- Report incidents and accidents
- Use equipment in accordance with training and instruction
- Take reasonable care of their own health and safety, and the safety of anyone who will be affected by their work
2. Manual Handling Regulations
Approximately 21% of all non-fatal workplace injuries are caused by incorrect manual handling, resulting in operational, financial and reputational damage. Therefore, it’s crucial to prevent situations where your workers could be harmed when lifting or moving heavy objects. The Manual Handling Operations Regulations (MHOR) legislation was introduced in 1992 and later updated in 2002 to provide employers with rules that will keep their workers safe.
As an employer, you must:
- Avoid the need for hazardous manual handling, as far as reasonably practicable
- Assess the risk of injury from any manual handling task that cannot be avoided
- Reduce the risk of injury from manual handling, as far as reasonably practicable
Again, you will need to conduct a sufficient risk assessment and put measures in place to reduce or eliminate manual handling hazards where possible. Failure to implement the requirements could be subject to actions from the regulatory authorities.
3. Display Screen Equipment Regulations
The Display Screen Equipment Regulations outline what employers must do to protect their staff from display screen equipment (DSE) risks, such as computers and laptops. Incorrect usage of DSE or poorly designed workspaces can cause musculoskeletal pains, wrist and hand pain, fatigue and eye strain, so it’s essential to ensure your office staff have the right tools to do their jobs.
Although the DSE regulations won’t apply to your field-based workers, it does cover anyone in your back office who regularly uses screen-based equipment as part of their daily work. As an employer, you must:
- Do a DSE workstation assessment or train workers to carry out basic assessments
- Ensure that workers take regular breaks from DSE work or complete other tasks intermittently
- Provide eye tests
- Provide adequate training and information for workers
As with the other regulations we’ve covered so far, you will need to conduct a risk assessment and record your findings.
4. Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 (WHSWR) outline the workplace’s minimum health and safety requirements, though they exclude construction sites. As the name of the legislation suggests, there are three key areas of focus:
The ‘health’ aspect of the WHSWR refers to the following:
- Work in hot and cold environments
- Cleanliness and waste material
- Room dimensions and space
- Workstations and seating
The ‘safety’ aspect of the WHSWR refers to the following:
- Floors and traffic routes
- Falls into dangerous substances
- Transparent or translucent doors
- Gates, walls and windows
- Escalators and moving walkways
The ‘welfare’ aspect of the WHSWR refers to the following:
- Sanitary conveniences and washing facilities
- Drinking water
- Accommodation for clothing
- Facilities for changing
- Facilities for rest and to eat meals
5. Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER)
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, otherwise known as PUWER, place duties on anyone who owns, operates or has control over work equipment — including businesses and organisations whose employees use work equipment.
PUWER requires that any equipment for work purposes is:
- Suitable for the intended use
- Safe for use, maintained and inspected to ensure that it’s correctly installed and isn’t deteriorating significantly
- Used only by individuals who have received adequate information and training
- Accompanied by suitable health and safety measures, such as protective devices and controls. Such devices typically include guarding, emergency stops, adequate means of isolation from energy sources, clearly visible markings and warning devices
- Used in accordance with specific requirements
In addition to PUWER, certain types of work equipment may also be subject to other health and safety legislation. For example, lifting equipment will also need to meet the requirements of LOLER.
Some work equipment is subject to other health and safety legislation in addition to PUWER. For example, lifting equipment must also meet the requirements of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) and personal protective equipment needs to follow the PPE at work regulations. With COVID having a significant impact on how people use PPE in the workplace, it’s imperative to stay up-to-date with any changes to the legislation.
6. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulations
Following on from the previous point, let’s take a closer look at the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) regulations. Although PPE has gained attention throughout the pandemic, it has always been essential for any facilities manager to know how it should be used in the workplace.
PPE is equipment that protects the user against health and safety risks at work. You can provide such protection with items such as safety helmets, high-visibility clothing, eye protection, gloves, safety footwear or respiratory protective equipment (RPE).
Whilst you may have taken every other precaution to reduce hazards on-site, you may still need to protect your workers against injuries to:
- The eyes — e.g. flying particles
- The skin — e.g. corrosive chemicals
- The lungs — e.g. breathing in contaminated air
- The head and feet — e.g. falling materials
- The body — e.g.extreme temperatures
However, it’s important to remember that PPE should only be used as a last resort (except when facemasks are required due to COVID), and you should always try to put other health and safety measures in place first. If you require your staff to wear PPE on the job, you will need to provide it free of charge.
Facility Management Software Helps You Stay Compliant
Although we’ve covered the top six legislations, there are many more that you must consider depending on your industry. But, with so many other responsibilities on your plate already, how can you guarantee that your organisation is compliant?
The best way to manage your operations is by using facility management software like BigChange, which has many inbuilt health and safety features. Here are just some of the features you can benefit from:
- Mandatory risk assessment and workflows that workers must fill out on their mobile devices before beginning work
- Daily vehicle walkaround checks
- Driver behaviour analysis
By digitising your health and safety procedures, you’ll have a complete record of the measures you’ve taken to keep your employees safe. As such, you and your employees can rest assured that your organisation is following all industry regulations and won’t get caught out for non-compliance.
Ensure Your Employees are Staying Safe in the Workplace with BigChange
Your people are your most important asset.
BigChange gives you the power to keep your employees working safely and ensure their personal information is secure and up-to-date.
With our online driver behaviour analysis, risk assessments, method statements and vehicle walkaround checks, you can rest assured that health and safety are a number one priority.
Want to find out more?
Discover how BigChange can make your business grow stronger here and arrange a free demo today.