Health and safety for hired spaces
If you hire a hall or room to hold your unit meetings in, here's a few aspects of health and safety to be aware of
If you hold your unit meetings in a hired hall or room, there’s not much you need to do to manage the building.
But it is a good idea to check that the landlord or building manager is doing everything they are supposed to. You must also carry out a risk assessment.
What do I need to check?
Fire risk assessment
Your landlord is required by law to have a fire risk assessment and to share this with you. They also have to tell you about the emergency evacuation procedures for the building. You also need to know where the fire assembly point is.
For extra peace of mind, you can ask to see records of tests and maintenance carried out on the fire detection and alarm system. Remember, if you want to have sleepovers in the room then you need to make sure there’s a fire alarm system installed and get the fire risk assessment reviewed and updated.
For sleepovers in the hall, you should also check this helpful guidance on fire safety for overnight accommodation and this guide to fire risk assessment in sleeping accommodation.
Some older buildings, built before 2000, are likely to have asbestos used somewhere in the construction. You don’t need to worry about asbestos as long as it’s covered and not damaged, it’s safe – but you should check with the landlord where the asbestos is in the room or building you use.
If you think you might have damaged the asbestos covering with any of the activities you do, then you need to let the landlord or building manager know as soon as you can.
Chemicals and substances
Sometimes you might want to do experiments with your group, so it’s important to make sure any substances you use are going to be safe.
All chemicals come with symbols on the label that tell you what the hazards are. It's a good idea to get familiar with what to look out for, so check out this full list of hazard symbols.
If you’re using anything that has one of these hazard symbols on, then you need to do a risk assessment to make sure you’re using it safely. You’ll need the Manufacturers Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) in order to write the risk assessment, and these can be found easily by searching online for MSDS and the name of the substance - for example, search for domestic bleach MSDS to find the data sheet.
Use our Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) risk assessment template to help with your risk assessment.
Check the government government guidance on the control of hazardous substances from gov.uk
Electricity and electrical equipment
Making sure that electrical equipment is safe to use and regularly maintained will be the responsibility of your landlord. You can ask to see testing certificates to find out when wiring was last testing and to make sure it’s safe for you to use.
Be careful when bringing your own electrical equipment into the venue, you might need to have it tested before using – your landlord will let you know.
You should see safety signs around the hall or room you hire; exit signs, fire signs and information signs near the fire extinguisher. It’s your landlord's responsibility to make sure these are correct but if you want to check that your hall has the right signage in place see these government safety signs regulations.