This category is all about Health and Safety Guidance for owners of holiday homes, cottages and complexes in the UK. It contains posts, articles and tips on many areas of managing a safe and legal Holiday Letting business. It includes articles, tips and guidance on fire safety, risk assessments, electrical circuit safety and PAT testing, Carbon monoxide safety and so much more. Check out these posts, Does your holiday home need a fire alarm system? Holiday Home Industry Code Of Practice, Fire Safety Law for Holiday Letting.

hot tub at holiday home

hot tub at holiday home

Despite the economic recession of recent years one item once considered a luxury is beginning to find it’s way into holiday home gardens all across the UK.

Sales of hot tubs and outdoor spas have continued to skyrocket; some suggest as many as one in 10 households now boast one, with more conservative figures placing this at one in 20.

From changing water regularly during peak periods to managing PH levels and risks of infection there’s plenty to be thinking of when investing in a hot tub as a holiday home owner.

Here’s our checklist of a few things you should be actively managing to protect you, your holiday letting guests and hot tubs:

Managing the risks – conduct a risk assessment

In order to implement a formal health and safety management system for your hot tub you’ll first have to conduct a full risk assessment.  The person carrying out the risk assessment should have adequate knowledge, training and expertise to understand the hazard (e.g. the presence of infectious agents in the spa pool) and risk associated with your hot tub, although be aware that the owner is ultimately responsible for the risk assessment.

The risks associated with hot tubs broadly fall into two areas:

Microbiological

Spa pools are much smaller than swimming pools and have a much higher ratio of bathers to water volume, so the amount of organic material in spa pools is far higher than in swimming pool water.  These conditions can allow pathogens to quickly grow, with the most commonly associated with hot tubs being legionella.

Non-Microbiological

This will cover areas such as the risk of slips and trips, accidental drowning and electrical or thermal risks for bathers who are pregnant or suffer from cardiovascular issues or fits.

Your risk assessment should cover all of these areas and along with the control measures you put in place, be regularly reviewed at the very least every two years.

Once you have assessed the risks ensure they are effectively managed

Inadequate management, lack of training and poor communication is often associated with the outbreak of diseases such as Legionnaires disease.

Someone who is competent and knowledgeable about the hot tub should be given day-to-day responsibility for its upkeep and to ensure all operational procedures are carried out effectively.

These people should be provided with regular refresher training on their duties and records should also be kept of any training undertaken.

Regularly evaluate and monitor your control measures

Your control measures and their implementation should be monitored frequently to ensure they are effective and being met.  If issues are identified in procedures they should be addressed and rectified immediately.

Communicate with your guests

Make sure your guests are fully aware of your procedures, the risks and how you handle and control them in order for them to adhere to your health and safety regulations.

Issues such as not immersing your head in the water along with potential risks for people with certain health conditions should form a part of this communication.

Check your holiday home insurance policy

Make sure that your holiday home insurance provider is happy to cover your hot tub and that this cover includes the liability of guests using it.

Hot tubs can also be expensive pieces of equipment – make sure that the sums insured within your policy accurately reflect the potential costs should damage occur to your outdoor spa.

Please note that this article gives only an overview to some of the potential issues and considerations of owning a hot tub.

  • For further information on health and safety surrounding spa pools and hot tubs click here.
  • To read the Health and Safety Executives best practice advice on Legionella and Legionnaires’ disease click here
Carbon Monoxide Be Alarmed Campaign

Carbon Monoxide Be Alarmed CampaignThis winter, make sure you protect yourself and your guests from carbon monoxide poisoning. As holiday home insurance specialists we provide financial peace of mind for holiday home owners should an insured peril occur and lead to a claim. Responsible holiday cottage owners and holiday home letting agents  give consideration to the safety of their guests. It’s important to furnish yourself with up to date information and for this reason Boshers are pleased to promote the Carbon Monoxide – Be Alarmed! campaign.

It’s widely known that fitting a smoke detector in residential properties is essential to ensure the safety of its residents. However, awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, and of the importance of installing a carbon monoxide alarm in a property, remains low. Only 39% of people surveyed recently by the Carbon Monoxide – Be Alarmed! campaign said that they had an alarm in their home – and other evidence suggests that the true figure is actually much lower.

Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas which can kill or cause long-term damage to your health. According to the Department of Health, around 50 people each year die from carbon monoxide poisoning and thousands more are treated in hospital. Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, charcoal, coal and wood do not burn completely. The most common cause of this is when an appliance, such as a boiler or cooker, is installed incorrectly or is poorly maintained. Carbon monoxide can also build up when flues, chimneys or vents are blocked. It’s therefore vital that holiday home owners ensure all appliances are installed correctly and serviced annually by a qualified and registered engineer. You can find out more about this on the Carbon Monoxide – Be Alarmed! website here.

Carbon Monoxide Be alarmed ChecklistHowever, given that carbon monoxide is odourless, tasteless and invisible, there is only one way to ensure that you protect yourselves and your guests from carbon monoxide poisoning – by installing an audible carbon monoxide alarm in your property. Alarms are available from £15 and can be bought at DIY stores, some supermarkets, or directly from energy suppliers. You can read more about purchasing and installing an alarm here.

Although it’s not currently a legal requirement in Great Britain for houses to have an alarm fitted, carbon monoxide poisoning is tragic and easily preventable. Install an alarm today and make sure your family, and your guests, do not fall victim to carbon monoxide poisoning.

For a quotation for holiday home insurance for your UK commercially let holiday home call Boshers on 01237 429444 or find out more about our holiday home insurance here.

 

Landlords Gas Safety

CO Poisoning Risk - Appeal for landlords to check cooker make and model in their letsCO Poisoning Risk – Appeal for landlords to check cooker make and model in their lets. An urgent appeal has been issued today to thousands of consumers who remain at risk from potentially fatal carbon monoxide poisoning in their homes despite concerted efforts by the manufacturer and trading standards to reach them.

Earlier this year it emerged that a number of Leisure, Flavel, New World and Belling cookers produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide if the grill door is not left open during use, as specified in the instructions.

Since then nearly 40,000 of these appliances sold have been tracked down and modified thanks to extensive advertising, mail-outs, safety notices sent with energy bills, phone calls and home visits.

But more than 25,000 homes still have one of these cookers, which could produce extremely dangerous levels of carbon monoxide should the grill be operated with the door closed.  Of these, only 12,000 are known to the manufacturer.

The Trading Standards Institute is supporting the manufacturer’s plea for consumers to respond to this alert by checking the make and model of their cooker – the safety risk can be easily eliminated from the affected appliances by an engineer with a simple modification.

TSI’s product safety lead officer Christine Heemskerk said:  ‘Trading standards and the manufacturer have been working very hard to locate and modify these cookers.

‘Another national press campaign with a safety notice is now being launched and we are urging consumers, including landlords and letting agents, to check the brand and model of their cooker today as there is a serious risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, made worse now with the weather turning cold – there is less ventilation as people are keeping their windows and doors closed to keep the cold out, and some people may be using their grills improperly to heat their accommodation.

‘Anyone who might have one of these cookers should immediately contact the manufacturer and arrange for a free modification.’

The freephone number to call the manufacturer is 0800 342 3049.

AFFECTED MODELS

BELLING G755MkII    WHITE
BELLING G755MkII    ANTHRACITE
BELLING GT755 WHITE
BELLING COUNTRY CHEF 100G    SILVER
BELLING COUNTRY CHEF 100G   ANTHRACITE

NEW WORLD 50 TWLM SV LPG
NEW WORLD 50 WLM WH LPG
NEW WORLD 50 WLM SV LPG
NEW WORLD 50 TWLM WH LPG

Leisure AL6NDW
Leisure CM10NRK
Leisure CM10NRC
Leisure CM101NRCP
Leisure CM101NRKP

Flavel AP5LDW
Flavel DCGAP5LS
Flavel ML5NDS

Other articles of interest to landlords and holiday let owners:

For Self-Catering holiday cottage owners in Scotland, the Scottish Government has produced the following:

You may also find the following posts for holiday home owners of interest:

Follow this link for posts and other useful resources for holiday home owners

For further information on UK holiday home insurance visit the website page most relevant to you:

Somerset County Gazette

A holidaymaker died after a tragic accident at a holiday cottage near Porlock, an inquest has heard.

Somerset County Gazette

Angela Turnball from Bournemouth was 55 when she fell down stairs at a property on Horner Farm last year.

To read the full story `Tragic death at holiday cottage newar Porlock’ as reported by the Somerset County Gazette on the 3rd September 2012 visit their website here

This is an extremely sad story which we are bringing to the attention of holiday home owners via our holiday home insurance blog in the hope that similar accidents may be averted.

Guidance on making your holiday home safer for you and your guests can be found in our recent post:- Limiting the risks of slips and trips in your holiday home

For further information on UK holiday home insurance visit the website page most relevant to you:

Thank you for reading Tragic death at holiday cottage near Porlock.

For information on specialist insurance for commercially let UK holiday homes, cottages and apartments visit Boshers insurance website at www.boshers.co.uk/holiday-home-insurance

Slips, trips and falls
Slips, trips and falls

Slips, trips and falls

The old adage, “prevention is better than cure” is never truer than when applied to limiting the risk of slips and trips in your holiday home letting property. As holiday home insurance specialists we see public liability claims made by guests and occasionally employees all too often.

Slips and trips are one of the most common causes of of non-fatal major injuries to employees and they also account for over half of all reported accidents to members of the public.

Limiting the risk of slips and trips in your holiday home

All employers and anyone who is in control of premises visited regularly by members of the public should assess and manage the risk of slips and trips at their premises. Slips and trips can result in injuries which may lead to compensation awards that can often be substantial.

Health and Safety legislation affecting holiday home owners

All employers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their employees and also those not in their employment at their holiday home premises under the Health and Safety at work Act 1974. Subsequent regulations describe te duty to carry out risk assessments and set out specific responsibilities with respect to ensuring a safe work place.

Those in control of premises also have duties under the Occupiers Liability Act 1984. This is defined as follows and clearly extends to control of slip and trip hazards:-

“A duty to take such care as in the circumstance of the case is reasonable to see that the visitor will be reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes for which he is invited or permitted by the occupier to be there.”

Key questions you should ask yourself about your holiday home

  • Are the internal floor surfaces of your holiday home in good condition?
  • Do you regularly inspect your floors to ensure that they remain in good condition? Have a procedure to ensure that damage is repaired promptly.
  • Have you secured floor coverings such as rugs, mats and carpets?
  • Do you have handrails securely fitted as an aid for climbing steps and stairs?
  • Is your lighting fit for purpose?
  • Have you installed suitable show screens or curtains to minimise water spillage on shower room or bathroom floors?
  • Have you removed tripping hazards such as trailing cables?
  • Are cleaning substances chosen to reduce risk of slippery surfaces?
  • Are the external paths, driveways, patios and steps in good condition, free of defects such as unevan, loose or broken paving bricks, slabs or potholes?
  • Do you have a regular cleaning rota to ensure that your paths are cleared of leaves, lichen and moss which can become slippery when wet?

Good holiday home housekeeping, risk assessments and key action steps

Good holiday home housekeeping is the first and the most important method of preventing falls due to slips and trips. Make it easy for your housekeeper and guests to report any defects within your holiday let and have them rectified as soon as possible. Without good housekeeping practices any other preventative measures will never be fully effective.

Risk assessments for holiday home slips and trips should be carried out to identify possible hazards.

  • Look for slip and trip hazards
  • Decide who might be harmed and how
  • Consider the risks
  • Are there suitable controls in place?
  • If not, determine new/improved control and implement
  • Record your findings as this goes a long way to demonstrate your positive attitude to Health & Safety in the event of a claim against you
  • Review on a regular basis

Key action steps for holiday home owners

  • Ensure that new flooring surfaces are installed so that they are, as far as is practicable, free from tripping and slipping hazards
  • Conduct routine inspections to ensure that all surfaces are free from slip and trip hazards
  • Ensure that rotine maintenance is carried out to remedy defects
  • Implement a sound housekeeping programme

References:-

Preventing slips, trips and falls at work INDG 225 – Free

Workplace health, safety and welfare INDG 244 – Free Available from HSE Books

A quality holiday home insurance policy such as that offered by Boshers for UK holiday lets will include employers and public liability cover to indemnify you against your legal liability to pay damages and legal costs arising out of bodily injury to employees or accidental injury to guests or other visitors to your holiday let. However limiting the risk of slips and trips in your holiday home through prevention is always better than cure!

Follow this link for posts similar to limiting the risks of slips and trips in your holiday home and other useful resources for holiday home owners

For further information on UK holiday home insurance visit the website page most relevant to you:

Thank you for reading limiting the risks of slips and trips in your holiday home.

For further advice and information on specialist holiday home insurance for UK holiday let properties visit www.boshers.co.uk/holiday-home-insurance

Fire Safety Assessment

This article offers guidance on fire safety law for sleeping accommodation providers. Almost six years have passed since the law known as the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, was introduced in October 2006. Despite the passing of time, Fire Safety Risk Assessments for holiday home owners remains, if you will excuse the pun, ‘a hot topic’.

As specialist providers of holiday home insurance for UK lets, this topic is raised frequently during discussions that we have with both holiday cottage owners and holiday home letting agents alike. There has been much confusion and speculation banded around the self-catering accommodation industry about the required frequency and content of a suitable assessment.

Complying with Fire Safety Law for Sleeping Accommodation Providers in England & Wales

Thankfully `The Chief Fire Officers Association’ have produced a leaflet containing information on complying with fire safety law for people who provide sleeping accommodation in England and Wales.

The document is entitled: Do You Have Paying Guests? If so, fire safety law applies to you, and you must take action

It also contains an Example Fire Risk Assessment Form for recording significant findings for small accommodation providers.

This leaflet is concise, written in plain language and aimed at the smaller end of the sleeping accommodation market, such as Bed and Breakfast’s, holiday homes, holiday cottages and holiday let apartments.

These documents will assist you as a holiday home owner to comply with your obligations under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Click the links below to find out more:

For Self-Catering holiday cottage owners in Scotland, the Scottish Government has produced the following:

You may also find the following posts for holiday home owners of interest:

Follow this link for other useful resources for holiday home owners

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to holiday let and cottage complex owners across the UK. If you need an insurance quote for your holiday let call us on 01237 429444.

If you have a solid fuel fire in your holiday home or cottage, check out this informative video from TheMasterSweep.co.uk containing advice on Solid Fuel Fire Safety Information For Holiday Lets

Iain is based in Cornwall, to find a chimney sweep in your area visit the Guild Of Master Sweeps site here – search for a chimney sweep    

Holiday Home Chimney Fire Safety Advice

As a holiday home or cottage owner you have a duty of care to your letting guests. Employing a qualified sweep to maintain your chimneys forms an important part of a structured fire risk assessment. A clean chimney can help prevent fire and structural damage to your holiday home. Check out this useful advice from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service on Chimney Fire Safety 

Guild of Master SweepsDuty of care also a forms a general condition of a Holiday Home Insurance policy. You must take all reasonable steps to protect and maintain the property, prevent damage or injury and comply with laws by-laws and regulations. Failure to do so could void your holiday let insurance cover.

Other posts of interest to furnished holiday let holiday home owners:

For further information on UK holiday home insurance visit the website page most relevant to you:

 

As all good holiday home agents and owners know, there are responsibilities that come with letting your holiday home commercially, one of the most important responsibilities at this time of year is gas safety – Boshers Ltd the UK holiday home insurance specialists says that agents and their landlords really must ensure that their gas appliances are safe. Landlords and holiday home owners can face large fines and potentially harm their tenants or guests if gas appliances don’t comply with gas safety regulations.

Recently a landlord was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay over £2,000 in costs after breaching Gas Safety regulations and failing to fulfil his responsibilities as a landlord, according to the Central Office of Information. 


Landlord Anthony Brownson persistently ignored requests by the council to produce a landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate and in the meantime his tenant had been left with a faulty boiler system and without a safely working fire during one of the coldest winters in recent times. 


The landlord pleaded guilty to a breach of gas safety regulations by failing to carry out an annual safety check on gas appliances between April 2007 and March 2011. He also admitted an offence of failing to comply with an Improvement Notice between December 2010 and March 2011. He was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £2,089.25 in costs. 


HSE Inspector Dr Angus Robbins, who investigated the case, said, “In addition to the risks of fires and explosions from faulty gas appliances, many people are made ill, and some 20 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning every year owing to poorly-maintained gas appliances. Landlords’ duties are very clear – they must ensure gas appliances are checked for safety by a Gas Safe registered engineer and provide their tenants with a copy showing that the appliances and flues were operating operating safely at that time. HSE will not hesitate to bring landlords before the courts when they are prepared to risk their tenant’s safety for financial gain.”


Mark Lavington Cert CII, Director of Boshers Ltd, says, “Holiday home owners must, by law, make sure gas appliances in their rental properties are maintained and have a gas safety check carried out every 12 months by a registered Gas Safe engineer. If holiday home owners don’t ensure their gas appliances are safe, they could end up with a hefty fine, harm their guest’s health or even potentially kill them through Carbon Monoxide poisoning.” Guidance on gas safety for holiday home owners can be found at www.hse.gov.uk/gas/landlords/index.htm 

Holiday home owners should be aware that certain models of Beko fridge freezers have a fault which can lead to them catching fire. This informative article in the Independent explains, read on here