As a landlord, there’s still an obligation to manage risks in relation to your premises, even when you have a tenant in place.
A landlord is a PCBU (Person Conducting Business or Undertaking) and as such they must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers, any workers it influences or directs, and any other people who could be put at risk by the work it does. In the case of a landlord, the work it does is leasing the property.
In a commercial property, both the landlord and tenant are PCBU’s. Often their obligations overlap so there’s a duty to consult and work together to coordinate health and safety processes and procedures.
Beware of trees needing trimmed!
A recent WorkSafe prosecution clearly shows that landlords and tenants can both be prosecuted for failing to address risks in relation to commercial premises.
Heng Tong Investments Limited (“Heng Tong”) leased a property to Discoveries Educare, a Childcare Centre. A number of young children and a teacher were injured when a large tree fell on them.
As part of an investigation into the incident, Heng Tong stated they relied on the tenant to raise issues and took no active interest in the health and safety management of the Centre.
The court decision made it clear that this stance is not sufficient. There’s an expectation on the landlord to visit their property, conduct inspections and assessments, and coordinate with the tenant to manage risks.
In this case, Heng Tong was fined $89,250 and ordered to pay reparation of $30,800.
It might be easy to “spray and walk away” (as the saying goes) when you’ve signed up a tenant, but it doesn't work like that.
“Plan, Do, Check and Act” is a helpful mantra to manage risk. Head to the WorkSafe website to get the information on how to implement the four-step system.
Injury prevention scheme eligibility
Are you eligible for ACC’s workplace injury prevention scheme? Too many New Zealanders continue to suffer injuries at work with manufacturing one of the highest risk sectors. ACC, in collaboration with HASANZ, have designed a workplace injury prevention subsidy for businesses to access health and safety (H&S) services to improve their workplace H&S performance.The subsidy is available for small to medium-sized businesses with around six to 99 employees in the manufacturing sector.
For more information check out the ACC website: https://www.acc.co.nz/for-business/workplace-health-safety/workplace-injury-prevention-subsidies/