rusti health safety property management guideWe have come across a great way to summarise a whole spectrum of health & safety compliance for a business or organisation.

This is more from an operational rather than property perspective, so under an entity’s duties as an ‘employer’ and other ‘competent’ or ‘responsible’ person roles.

Property will of course play a part in this, but there will be all kinds of other duties. Saying that, these same principles can be still applicable for a business that is dealing with property interests anyway, for example a managing agent or developer, and could be applied for more general property health & safety issues.

The R.U.S.T.I Acronym

The way to summarise this is a 5-stage acronym where the first letter of each stage together forms the word RUSTI like below:

R – Risk Assessments
U – Updates  
S – Summaries
T – Training
I – Information

Therefore, here’s what each stage means:

1. Risk Assessments

It’s a classic, and what most people will assume is what the health and safety world is only about – the risk assessment.
In short, these are noting what issues and hazards could arise – a kind of worst-case scenario of what could go wrong, and then practical actions points to then try and limit or ideally remove such risks.
The key is common sense here and not just endless generic entries that mean nothing. Chatting through with people involved who will know the reality of issues can therefore soon help bottom these out.

2. Updates

In short, this is communication to everyone at all levels, to make them aware of things.

At one extreme it may be a formal H&S handbook, at the other just quick email updates or notice-board signs.

Therefore, whether formal or informal, it’s all about community information to individuals and groups of people, whether ongoing or one-off.

3. Summaries 

This is more the form-filling part, where people need to log and record various issues.

Whether it’s a daily visitor log on reception, routine property inspections, or de-brief from an activity – there’s probably plenty to note.
In addition to knowing what they’re practically for, make sure people know why they’re doing this – to log what happens in a session.
And it’s okay to be proactive and more check-list approach, but still making sure that comments are genuinely completed where needed.

4. Training 

It is important of course to train people up in their roles and duties, whether long-term staff or one-off contractors visiting a property.
There will also be different forms of this, for example an induction one for start-off, general reviews and feedback, and ongoing skill training and H&S awareness and refresher courses.
At whatever level, try and keep these as short and clear as possible so they’re user-friendly and understandable.

5. Information

Although these are last, in fact they are the most important part as they’re the main policies. However, saying that, it is sometimes better to only bring these in at the end after people have gone through the basics and can then apply the final theory.
So, these are the bread-and-butter policies, documents, and pieces of information you see dotted around in the world of health and safety. There will probably be a main H&S Policy, but also all kinds of others like Data Protection, Lone Worker, and COSHH.
You’ll then have more property-specific ones like Working at Height and Method Statements.

Making Things RUSTI

What is helpful as well with this acronym is that it sounds like something getting ‘rusty’, as in metal deteriorating. Those with a marketing angle can help therefore present this is a memorable way, which is actually very important for everyone within a business or organisation to get the very basics.

Getting down to the basics, these are 5 handy issues to be aware of and apply within different contexts and help make sense of the very complex world of health and safety.

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