The Association of Retirement Housing Managers Conference

Terry Jones, our highly esteemed Fire Safety Consultant will be speaking at this year’s annual ARHM (Association of Retirement Housing Managers) Summer Conference.  This is taking place in Birmingham on 11th June 2014. Save it in your diary!

The ARHM was founded in 1991 and since its inception has developed an extremely important role in the management of leasehold retirement housing.  The ARHM now represents in excess of 55 member organisations who manage 105,000 retirement properties in the UK.  It is also the only body that jointly represents both the private sector and registered social landlords, which is why it is now widely consulted on various matters by both the Government and other professional bodies.

The ARHM’s mission is

  • to continually raise standards within the sector by promoting best practice and ethics amongst those managing retirement housing.
  • It is also committed to promoting quality and professionalism through training and education of its members and raising awareness of the benefits of retirement housing.

The ARHM Code of Practice for England, (which was approved by the Government under the Leasehold, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993),

  • aims to promote best practice in the management of leasehold retirement housing, regardless of whether the services are provided by private companies or housing associations.
  • It not only sets out the statutory obligations that apply to the management of leasehold properties, but also sets out additional requirements which should be followed as a matter of good practice.
  • The Code of Practice forms a benchmark for Leasehold Valuation Tribunals in the exercise of their role in relation to the management of retirement leasehold properties.

This makes the code an extremely useful source of reference for managers, and also for leaseholders as it provides clarification around the level of service they can expect to receive.

The ARHM has also achieved success on a national basis.

The Code of Practice for Scotland was launched by Alex Neil MSP, the Housing and Communities Minister for the Scottish Government on 26 October 2009.

The Code of Practice for Wales was successfully launched by Jocelyn Davies AM, the Deputy Minister for Housing at the Senedd in Cardiff on 22 November 2010.

The ARHM remains committed to raising standards in retirement housing across the whole of the UK.

Their Code of Practice has been under review over recent months. This has been an important and significant piece of work undertaken with input not only from member organisations, but also external stakeholders including representatives from the DCLG, Federation of Private Residents Associations, Age UK, LEASE and representatives from the private sector.

Join us for a day of information and education on the day.

NHS Trust fined after worker suffered steam burns

Fines were issued after worker suffered serious burns  at Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (KGH), where an employee received serious burns whilst stripping down a steam boiler.

On 5 November 2012, a maintenance worker at KGH was stripping down a steam boiler for periodic examination, when he received serious steam burn injuries to the lower half of his body.

The worker received his injuries whilst removing the crown valve from one of the steam boilers. The system only had a single point of isolation, instead of two, and this single point did not prevent steam leaking back into the section of the system he was working on.

The Court heard KGH had no system for assessing and controlling risks their employees were exposed to. The Trust did not know what training their maintenance employees had received and they were not under suitable supervision whilst working there.

The NHS Foundation Trust of Rothwell Road, Kettering, appeared at Northampton Magistrates’ Court and was fined £7,000 with full costs of £1,926 and a victim surcharge of £15 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

More information about safe management of industrial steam and hot water boilers can be found on the HSE website.

Please view our How To Monitor Water Temperatures safety video.

Developers found guilty of repeat offences

A development company, Landrose Developments Limited, has been sentenced for breaches of the Work at Height Regulations.

The company were carrying out construction of 20 domestic properties, including 10 houses and 10 flats at a site in Willesden when HSE inspectors arrived.

Landrose Developments Limited of North Circular Road, London, pleaded guilty today (21st May 2015) to safety failings after a routine site inspection on 6 February 2013, which resulted in enforcement action being taken.  Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that despite this action, the breaches were repeated at the construction site and resulted in further enforcement action.

However, despite the previous action, the breaches were repeated on the 30th August 2013 at the construction site, without any adequate means to prevent persons, materials or objects falling a distance liable to cause personal injury. This resulted in further enforcement action.

Landrose Developments Limited was fined £16,000 with costs of £2,221 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulations 6(3) and 10(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.  There was also a victim surcharge applied.

This was a proactive prosecution for repeated work at height breaches on more than one site, without any adequate means to prevent persons, materials or objects falling and causing injury.


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Workers Death leading to prison sentences

William Ward, 56, from Sheffield, sustained catastrophic crush injuries

Two subcontractors have been handed eight-month prison sentences, suspended for 18 months, after Mr Ward was killed when part of a 33-tonne metal barge he was dismantling collapsed on top of him.

Glaring safety failings identified that the barge was inadequately supported to prevent a possible collapse and proper assessments were not undertaken.

Tenants put at risk of poisoning by landlord

The lives of a young family were put at risk by their landlord who failed to have their gas boiler regularly serviced and checked, a court has heard.   A mother, her partner and young child moved into the property in Newquay but were not supplied with a copy of a gas safety record by their landlords.

A year later, the tenant asked about a safety inspection of the boiler but no inspection took place.  A short while later, the family noticed a gas smell.  A Gas Safe registered engineer later inspected the appliance and issued an “Immediately Dangerous” notice on the boiler.

Myth-busting by the HSE

The HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel provides a mechanism to independently challenge potentially disproportionate or inaccurate advice or decisions, made in the name of health and safety.

“We think that communicating these decisions will help all our clients with a better insight into the ongoing ‘perception v’s reality’ arguments which appear in the media from time to time”.

Phil Jones

Council erecting a barrier on sloping grass bank to prevent workers and the public falling onto concrete path below

A sloping grassed bank, whose base is retained by a vertical wall, runs along behind social housing dwellings. The council has identified a risk of injury to workers from a fall from the top of the retaining wall when working on the bank above and also identified a similar risk of injury for residents and the public who access the bank. The council plans to install a barrier on top of the wall to reduce the risk of fall from height onto the concrete path below.

Read the Panel’s decision HERE.

Village hall clock causes high ding-dong

A press article reported that a new member of the village had threatened to sue the parish council if the village hall clock strikes after 11pm. He claims the tranquil environs of the village had been disturbed by chiming every 15 minutes and will claim under health and safety legislation to stop this.

Read the Panel’s decision HERE.
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Unsuitable Health and Safety Compliance

A recycling company has been fined for unsuitable machine guarding.  Street Fuel Limited, was fined £5,000 with £893 costs and a victim surcharge of £120 at Medway Magistrates Court after a worker sustained arm injuries whilst working on a baler machine.

The incident occurred on 7 January 2014, when an operative employee of Street Fuel Limited, based at Chatham Docks, Gillingham, noticed a problem with the needle at the rear of the baler machine.  The machine did not have suitable guarding of dangerous parts and employee reached through the gap in the guards to pull off a hanging wire.  At the same time the machine bed moved forward and trapped his arm between the moveable bed and the side of the machine.

The court heard (5th May) that it was common practice for employees to put their hands through gaps in the guarding to solve issues with the closest needles on the machine as it saved time turning off the machine.

Street Fuel Limited, of Museum Street, London pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.