BuildingPro Tip: Safety – Prevention is better than first aid!
At BuildingPro we care about your safety. Your home or rented property may not be as safe as you think. Here are 12 useful tips for checking your building:
Tip 1 – Check that window coverings like blinds and curtains do not have cords dangling where they could be a strangulation risk. Cords should be at least 1600mm above floor level and tied off on a suitable hook. This is a high risk when a child’s bed is placed under a cord that they can get tangled up in it.
Tip 2 – Check the height of windows above floor level. If a child could climb out of a window then you need to limit the opening to 125mm or install a suitable security screen to prevent them falling out of the window. This is a high risk when a child’s bed is placed under an openable window on the upper floor level.
Tip 3 – Check that toilet doors open away from the toilet or that the hinges to the door are the lift off type. Otherwise a person could become unconscious and fall between the toilet and the inwards opening door and not be accessible by paramedics.
Tip 4 – Check that safety barriers are installed around wood heaters, fireplaces and flues as these can get very hot and cause burns if accidentally contacted.
Tip 5 – Handrails to sides of balconies, stairs, decks, paths, retaining walls where a person could fall more than 1 metre are necessary. Check Handrails are sturdy and do not move excessively. Check balustrades are at least 1 metre high and do not have gaps exceeding 125mm. We recommend installing child safety gates to the top and bottom of stairs if you have children under the age of five in the house. Children under the age of five should not use stairs unsupervised due to the risk of falling.
Tip 6 – Check Decks, Stairs, Balconies etc for defects including rust and decay. These should be inspected yearly by a qualified inspector and promptly repaired to prevent collapse.
Tip 7 – Have a Glazier check all Glass in the building is the correct type. Many houses built before 1980 have glass that is not Safety Glass. This is especially risky where there are large panes of glass that people could accidently walk into (glass doors). The Glazier can replace the glass with suitable Safety Glass or sometimes they can install a suitable clear plastic film onto the glass that reduces the risk of injury.
Tip 8 – Ceiling fans should be at least 2.1 metres above the floor level and at least 300mm from the ceiling. Keep children’s bunk beds well away from ceiling fans.
Tip 9 – Check the clearance around light fittings (especially the Halogen type because they generate intense heat) is at least 300mm clear of timber and insulation to ensure there is no fire hazard.
Tip 10 – Ask your electrician to check that a Safety Switch is installed to ALL circuits and working and to confirm that a smoke detector is installed and working. Change smoke detector batteries every April 1st.
Tip 11 – To reduce the risk of a scalding type injury the hot water system should have a tempering valve fitted to ensure that the water coming out of the taps is 50 degrees Celsius maximum.
Tip 12 – Check outside the building:
- Check a pool safety fence is installed and compliant. If purchasing a property ask the Seller for the Pool Safety Certificate or arrange for a Pool Safety inspector to check the installation and provide a report.
- Check paths and paved areas. Cracked and subsided sections can be a tripping hazard. Edges should not be raised more than 10mm. Steep and slippery paths and driveways can also pose a further risk of falls. Slippery moss can be removed. Check that Ponds, Dams, Creeks, Canals etc are suitably fenced off to prevent young children from gaining unsupervised access.
- The property address numbers should be easily visible from the street for emergency vehicles to identify the property.
- Child play areas should be separated from the driveway by a fence to prevent children from being accidentally run over.