Health And Safety Information

Last updated - 26 March 2019

At Genesis the Health and Safety of our residents is our highest priority.
We have provided some information on the ‘Big 5’ property related risks that you might come across. While we manage a lot of other risks we wanted to make you aware of the most significant and how you can help us deal with them.
If you have any questions please contact your Neighbourhood Manager or contact the Genesis Contact Centre at 033 3000 3000.

Asbestos

Asbestos is a fibrous material used in some buildings mainly for its strength and fire resistant properties. Using asbestos as a building material was banned in the UK in 1999, so any house built before 2000 may contain it.

What’s the risk?

Left alone asbestos doesn't pose a risk to health, however when disturbed, fibres can be inhaled and could lead to severe lung conditions. The fibres are often released if part of the building containing asbestos is damaged by carrying out general household improvements like drilling, scraping and sanding etc.

How do we manage the risk?

We regularly inspect the conditions of properties containing any building materials which contain asbestos and keep a register of all assessments.

If the material is sealed, in good condition and unlikely to be damaged we will leave it alone, however where there is any damage we will take appropriate action.

If the damage is minor we will reseal the area, but if it is extensive we will have the asbestos removed by licensed contractors.

What should you know and do about the risk?

If you think there could be damage to a communal area which contains asbestos containing material then please let us know by logging a repair on the Genesis website Following this we will visit the property and take appropriate action.

If you are a leaseholder or freeholder you are responsible for any asbestos in your property. The best course of action is to leave it undisturbed and to avoid any cutting, sanding or drilling that could damage materials that contain asbestos and therefore release the fibres.

If you decide to remove any material containing asbestos this must be carried out by a licensed asbestos contractor.

You can find more details, such as where asbestos is most commonly found in the home, from the Health and Safety Executive’s asbestos pages.

Electricity

Genesis is responsible for ensuring the safety of electrical supplies in shared and communal areas, and the supply of electricity to the sockets in your home.

What’s the risk?

Faulty electrical supplies can cause serious injury or death. Damaged or faulty equipment can lead to electrical shocks, fires and explosions.

How do we manage this risk?

We have an ongoing programme of checks and maintenance of communal electrical supplies as well as those in your home. In this programme we provide Electrical Installation Condition Reports on all communal electrical supplies. If we spot any damaged or faulty systems we will carry out required repairs. In every case our electricians will always make sure electrical supplies are safe before they leave the property.

We will respond to any reports of damaged or faulty supplies and we may need to turn off some or all power if we cannot make it safe on the first visit. We will always repair the supply as soon as possible. In some cases we may need to prioritise repairs in the homes of more vulnerable residents.

What should you know and do about the risk?

Please do not carry out your own electrical repairs. If you think a socket in your property or an electrical supply in a communal area is damaged or faulty please tell us straight away by calling the Genesis Contact Centre.   We will inspect the fault and make any repairs necessary.

If you think any electrical items in your home are damaged then contact a professional electrician for advice.

It’s important to maintain any electrical items in your home and make sure they are undamaged, always be conscious not to overload your sockets.

Fire

This section deals with fire safety and the potential for uncontrolled fire and smoke within Genesis properties.

From the reports made to us we’ve found that the most common sources of uncontrolled fires are caused by unattended candles, careless disposal of smoking materials and careless cooking (particularly deep frying).

How we manage the risk?

Our properties are designed to minimise risk of a fire starting, and if one does occur it will slow down the spread of fire.

We do continuous assessments of fire risks to decrease the chances of fires starting in communal areas and to make sure that precautions are in place to guarantee residents’ safety if there is a fire. These include fire-resistant walls and ceilings, fire and smoke-resistant doors and smoke detectors and alarms. It is our responsibility to maintain and, when necessary, repair these controls.

What should you know and do about the risks?

You should always know the fire safety plan for your building and what actions to take if there is a fire in your home or anywhere in the building. You can find fire safety information posted in your property and in the packs provided to you when you moved in. If you didn’t receive a pack when you moved in please get in touch with the contact centre.

Most importantly, you must ensure that you do not cause an uncontrolled fire. 

  • Never leave burning candles unattended.
  • If you smoke only do so in designated areas. If you smoke in your property make sure you dispose of smoking materials safely, and never smoke in bed.
  • When cooking, keep an eye on any hot surfaces or flames. Chip pans are particularly dangerous. If possible use a deep fat fryer.
  • NEVER put water on a chip pan or oil fire, it will explode and cause a serious fire. Instead turn off the cooker and cover the pan with a damp tea towel or preferably a fire blanket.
  • Never put water on an electrical fire as this could result in a fatal electric shock.
  • If any electrical items are faulty do not use them.

To help make sure fires are detected early it’s important to fit smoke alarms in your homes and make sure they are properly maintained. A properly functioning fire door can hold back fire and smoke for 30 minutes or more, so make sure they are closed and not wedged open.

If you think there is a fault with a fire door or a problem with fire precautions in shared or communal areas please let us know by logging a repair on the Genesis website.

You can find out more details about fire safety within shared blocks at the London Fire Brigade’s Tenants’ fire safety pages.

Fire risk assessments

If you live in a block, fire safety experts will have carried out a fire risk assessment (FRA) for your property. You are now able to request the FRA for your block by submitting the form below.

Gas

Gas is provided for heating and cooking in many Genesis properties.

What’s the risk?

As well as leaks, gas can contribute to fires and create explosions. Less obvious is the risk caused from carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas. It is odourless, colourless and tasteless, if it is not ventilated it can prevent the body from absorbing oxygen and cause death.  It can escape from appliances like boilers and fires if they are not working properly or if a chimney or flue is blocked.

How do we manage the risk?

We inspect all gas systems annually and ensure that all gas appliances under our responsibility are tested every year too. After these tests we will provide you with a certificate called a CP12 or Landlord’s Gas Safety Record, please keep these in a safe place.

If we come across any damage or fault with the systems we will carry out the necessary repairs and if we can’t fix the issue straight away we will always make sure everything is safe before leaving the property. This could mean our technicians may have to turn off the appliance until they can carry out a full repair.

What should you know and do about the risk?

If you suspect there is a gas leak call us on 033 3000 3000.  If it is safe to do so, turn off the gas supply and open the windows.  Do not smoke.  Do not switch on or off any electrical appliances or lights.

You should also call the Genesis Contact Centre to inform us of the gas leak.

If you are responsible for the gas appliances in your property, make sure they are routinely serviced.  This is particularly important for boilers.

Make sure that any vents or flues from your property are not blocked or obstructed.

Place a carbon monoxide alarm near to your boiler, and test the alarm so you know it works and what it sounds like.

You can find out more information at National Grid Gas Safety Advice pages.

Legionella

What is it?

Legionella is a naturally occurring bacteria which is present in places like rivers and ponds. In the natural environment it will not cause any problems, however it can become a significant risk in certain conditions within building water supplies.

If enough of the bacteria is breathed in it can cause a severe lung disease called Legionnaires’ disease, which can be fatal.

The bacteria legionella can develop within building water systems like cooling towers, evaporative condensers, spas, showers etc.

What’s the risk?

Legionella bacteria can become a significant risk if:

  • Water temperature is between 20 and 45 degrees C.
  • There are food sources in the water system, such as scale, sludge and rust.
  • The water is stagnant or recirculated.
  • People breathe in fine airborne water droplets (aerosol)

Anyone can develop Legionnaires’ disease but the risks are increased for those who smoke, are above 45 years old, suffer from heart, kidney or lung disease, diabetes and anyone with an impaired immune system.

How do we manage the risk?

We have already assessed the risks of legionella bacteria spreading in communal water systems. The water systems that we thought presented a risk are inspected, treated, cleaned and monitored on a one to three year cycle.

What should you know and do about the risk?

If you have been away from your home for an extended period you may want to run your shower and taps for a minute or so while you leave the room in order to flush out any stagnant water.

Apart from that there aren’t any actions that you need to take to help control the spread of legionella bacteria.