EMPLOYEES have an expectation of a clean and safe work environment and meeting these expectations is not just a requirement to create a happy workforce, it is a legal obligation for employers.
Continues a spokesperson: “Whether a property is owned or leased, it is the directors’ responsibility to ensure that a building is maintained to the best possible standards or they could risk losing staff or facing a legal challenge.
“Managing facilities correctly, whether a business is small or large, is crucial to protect employers from costly and damaging lawsuits as a result of failing to comply with UK health and safety legislation.
“Current laws require that any business with five or more employees has a proper health and safety policy in place, covering areas such as risk assessment, fire evacuation, chemical hazards, water system checks and first aid.”
FM by Design provides facilities management services for clients in and around Aberdeen with four employees upwards, highlighting that it is not just an essential requirement for large, multi-national firms.
The expert team, based in Aberdeen’s Carden Place, says that more and more cases of negligence have been highlighted in recent years, so all businesses should consider the benefits of planned facilities management.
David West, from FM by Design, said: “When a building works well, very few people notice, but if a bulb has been out for days or the tap in the staff kitchen is leaking, employees will start to complain.
“A poorly-maintained building is bad for staff morale and it can be very costly for an employer if there is deterioration to an extent where the health and safety of employees is under risk.”
Mr West, who has more than 30 years of experience in facilities management, is currently subcontracted through FM by Design to a large oil and gas client at the new Prime Four business park at Kingswells.
He says facility management requirements vary from business to business and the team at FM by Design finds its clients each have specific needs so their support is tailored.
Many smaller firms only require basic maintenance support but slightly larger firms are encouraged to create a planned and programmed maintenance structure, which ensures compliance but also spreads the costs annually.
Mr West continued: “Facilities management companies should ensure that employers are complying with legislation relating to waste regulations, electricity and water, fire and security and passenger lifts. With fire regulations, for instance, there must be regular testing of fire extinguishers and alarms and a safe place to evacuate to in the case of an emergency.
“When a company takes on a lease they take on an agreement for full repair and maintenance on site and as an employer you have to mitigate against the risks. Health and safety is the only area of the law where you are guilty until proven innocent – and the onus is always on the employer.”
The spokesperson added: “Good facilities management ensures that an employer meets all the legal and contractual obligations as far as a building is concerned, but more importantly it ensures the health and safety of your team in the workplace each and every day.
“But managing a safe working environment is not just a 9-5 job, it’s seven days a week, 365 days a year, and that is why it is crucial that every business, regardless of size, has expert facilities management guidance and support 24/7.”
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