Regulation in the self-catering industry: health and safety

Health and safety – three little words that can evoke many emotions for holiday rental owners. At SuperControl, we’re all about making things #SuperSimple, so we’ve created this health and safety checklist to help you get started. This is the latest in the series of articles on regulations in the self-catering industry.

Each property is unique, but there are three key areas of health and safety to consider to run your self-catering business responsibly: property evaluation, physical precautions and future-proofing.

Property evaluation

1. Start with a general risk assessment, it proves that you have taken reasonable steps to create a safe environment. Identify any potential hazards, who may be harmed and how (this includes guests, cleaners etc), the level of risk, and put precautions into place to make your self-catering accommodation a safer place.

For example:

  • Do you have an adequate hand rail on your stair case?
  • Is flooring securely fitted?
  • Are there any trip hazards that you can correct?

It’s good practice to keep a printed copy of your risk assessment and review it annually

Schofields Insurance have written a handy article which explains how to write a risk assessment for your property.

2. If you provide cleaning products such as bleach and oven-cleaner in the house, or store chemicals for the swimming pool or hot tub on site, it’s good practice to complete a COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) assessment. Make sure that these items are stored in a safe place, and keep safety data sheets so that should any accidents occur you can can quickly provide information if needed.

3. Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) and Carbon Monoxide Testing – it’s really easy to arrange these tests to be done in your property, and absolutely vital in ensuring your property is as safe as possible

Physical precautions

  • Pools and hot tubs – Extra precautions are required to ensure your pool or hot tub is clean and safe. Ensure the chemicals are securely locked away, with a detailed record of what is used and when. Your pool and hot tubs should be clearly sign posted, notifying your guests of extra precautions they should take (eg ‘no lifeguard’, ‘no diving’ and depth marks). Frequently check to ensure there are no cracks or build up of dirt.
  • Child safety – naturally this will already be at the forefront of everyone’s mind. First you must ask yourself what you offer your guests that children will be interested in: play equipment, toys etc. What do you leave at a child’s eye level that could pose a danger?
  • Fire safety – you may have read our previous blog on fire safety, if not you can find it here.

Future proofing your properties

  • Insurance – have you considered the ins and outs of what your insurance covers. Do your research and find the most comprehensive cover out there to put you and your guest’s minds at ease.
  • Access statements – an access statement sets out exactly what accessibility features your property offers. By detailing these features and sending them to your guests before their stay you will set their expectations ahead of time, and allow differently-abled guests to plan accordingly. Take a look at this article about how to make your property more accessible.
  • Action planning – so what happens if something does go wrong -do you have a plan? Do your guests know what to do if something goes wrong? Write an action plan, and place it somewhere obvious in your property so your guests can acquaint themselves with it throughout their stay.

Ensuring your property is health and safety compliant can be really easy, but make a world of difference for you and your guests.