Health and safety workloads increase under new legislation, says report

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First annual report highlights the growing demands on property compliance

New legislation and a strengthened emphasis on best practice are contributing to increased workloads and additional pressures for property and facilities managers, as reported by William Martin.

The health, safety, and property compliance firm released its first annual property compliance report, detailing the impacts of new laws and best practice culture.

Data from 20,000 risk assessments and survey reports, managed through the firm’s compliance software Meridian, formed the basis of this report, which covered the period from April 2023 to March 2024.

The report noted a 22% rise in health and safety actions across various disciplines from the previous year, totalling almost 327,000 actions.

Phil Jones, Managing Director at William Martin, remarked: “The property and facilities management industry shoulders a huge responsibility when it comes to upholding the highest standards of health and safety.

“With the introduction of the Building Safety Act 2022, we’re seeing a significant shift from mere compliance to a focus on best practice and continuous improvement.”

Insights from William Martin’s compliance report

In-depth analysis within the report reveals several concerning trends in health and safety management.

Notably, it is taking an average of 42 days to address Priority 1 actions from risk assessments.

Fire safety actions have increased by 53%, driven by new legislation, with a considerable number of these actions relating to inadequate fire doors.

Asbestos-related concerns also grew, with a 29% increase in actions necessitating asbestos removal, highlighting the deteriorating condition of asbestos in many UK buildings.

The report further indicates that nearly one-quarter of all Priority 1 health and safety actions last year concerned passenger lift safety, often due to inadequate documentation and record-keeping.

Approximately 17,000 actions were associated with legionella risks, underlining the ongoing threat of significant outbreaks.

Jones added: “The burden of increased workloads is exacerbating some worrying trends, such as the unacceptable time taken to address urgent actions and poor record-keeping practices around lift safety.

“Technological solutions and AI can help reduce human error and the likelihood of overlooking risks or misfiling reports.

“By using technology to work smarter, we can free up time to concentrate on initiatives that genuinely reduce risks.”

Addressing future challenges and opportunities

The company plans to continue publishing this data annually to track long-term industry trends.

This approach aims to provide actionable insights for property and facilities management professionals to prioritize within their operations.

IFSJ Comment

The findings from William Martin’s inaugural property compliance report shed light on the evolving challenges within the property and facilities management sector.

As legislative changes and best practices evolve, the industry must adapt to manage the increased workload effectively while continuing to enhance safety standards.

The ongoing commitment to annual reporting can play a crucial role in identifying trends and informing future strategies to mitigate risks and improve overall safety.

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