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Law relating to maintenance

1 - Responsibilities of owners and managers of premises.

1.1 - General duty

All owners/managers of premises, including homeowners, have a duty of care to persons who may be affected by doors and gates on their premises.  In the event of loss or injury caused by an unsafe gate or door, the injured party may be able to sue in a civil court to recover damages.  Insurance cover is available for such risks, but may be prejudiced if the owner/manager has failed to maintain a door or gate to a reasonable standard.

1.2 - Duties of employers and the self-employed

Employers and the self-employed are additionally liable to criminal prosecution under health and safety law if unsafe doors and gates exist on premises under their control; this could include landlords, managing agents and facilities managers:

Great Britain:

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974:
www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1974/37

See particularly section 3

Northern Ireland:

Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978: www.legislation.gov.uk/nisi/1978/1039/data.pdf

See particularly section 5

Republic of Ireland:

Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 and the Housing [Standards for Rented Houses] Regulations 2008

www.hsa.ie/eng/Legislation/Acts/Safety_Health_and_Welfare_at_Work/SI_No_10_of_2005.pdf

www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/1997/act/26/enacted/en/print

www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2008/si/534/made/en/print

1.3 - Duties of persons in control of workplaces

Finally, persons in control of workplaces have additional criminal responsibilities under the European Workplace Directive 89/654/EEC as transposed into national law:

UK:

Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992: www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l24.pdf

This link contains the HSE Approved Code of Practice as well as the text of the regulations.  Regulation 5 requires maintenance to be carried out and regulation 18 specifies the safety requirements for doors and gates in the workplace.

Republic of Ireland:

Safety, Health and Welfare (General Applications) Regulations 2007: www.hsa.ie/eng/Publications_and_Forms/Publications/General_Application_Regulations/gen_apps_workplace.pdf

See regulation 11.

2 - Responsibilities of maintenance contractors

Maintenance contractors may be held liable in a civil court for any breach of their contract with the owner/manager of premises or for any loss occasioned by their negligence.  More importantly, however, if their work fails to safeguard the health and safety of any person who may be affected, they may also have a criminal liability.  This liability may affect an employer, a self-employed person and an individual employee.  If an unsafe door or gate causes a fatality, a charge of manslaughter may be considered.  Note that these duties under criminal law apply to the contractor irrespective of the type of premises involved.

Great Britain:

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974:
www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1974/37

See particularly sections 3 (employers and the self-employed) and 7 (employees).

Northern Ireland:

Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978: www.legislation.gov.uk/nisi/1978/1039/data.pdf

See particularly sections 5 (employers and the self-employed) and 8 (employees).

Republic of Ireland:

Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005: www.hsa.ie/eng/Legislation/Acts/Safety_Health_and_Welfare_at_Work/SI_No_10_of_2005.pdf

See particularly sections 12 (employers and the self-employed) and 13 (employees).

Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997: www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/1997/act/26/enacted/en/print

See, in particular, section 13 for reckless endangerment.

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  • Door & Hardware Federation, 42 Heath Street, Tamworth, Staffordshire, B79 7JH
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