Health and safety in your home

Image of dice with a hand pointing to dice. Words on dice read Health and safety at work

Boiler Servicing

The Property Team is responsible for ensuring that central heating boilers (gas and oil) and any gas appliances are serviced annually by a Gas Safe / OFTEC registered contractor. This will not only improve their efficiency and ensure they are safe to use but will also, in all probability, extend the useful life of the system.

It is possible for the heating circulating pump to seize if left off throughout the summer months. Please ensure therefore that the pump is switched on for five minutes at least every month during this time.

For safety reasons it is important that prompt access is arranged with the servicing contractor to undertake the annual service.

If you have an oil-fired system ensure that when the oil is running low the tank is filled and never allowed to run out - if it does the system will need re priming and you will be responsible for any charges incurred.

Electrical Installations

An electrical inspection of the property will be undertaken by an NICEIC qualified electrical contractor at the time of the quinquennial survey and any remedial works identified will be carried out under the instruction of the Diocesan Surveyor.

Smoke Detectors

These are provided for your safety and should be checked on a monthly basis – under no circumstances must they in any way be disabled by removing batteries for example. Batteries must be replaced immediately when required. At the quinquennial inspection an electrical test will be undertaken by an NICEIC registered contractor and part of the work subsequently undertaken will be the provision/replacement to mains operated smoke detectors.

Carbon Monoxide

These are provided for your safety – Non-replaceable battery type carbon monoxide alarms are being provided where there are open fires or solid fuelled appliances and in rooms containing a boiler and older gas fires. If you have not been provided with a Carbon Monoxide detector please notify the Diocesan Property Team who will arrange for one to be supplied.


The regular sweeping of chimneys for open fires, woodburners or any other solid fuel burning fires is essential. It is the occupant’s responsibility to arrange sweeping of all flues and chimneys at appropriate intervals and at least once a year. This work should be carried out by HETAS registered sweep or a member of the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps and the certificate forwarded on to the Diocesan Surveyor.

If chimney flues are disused within your property please ensure that they are swept and inspected for safety before bringing them back into use.


Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material which was regularly used in the construction industry from the 1950’s to the mid-1980’s; all uses of asbestos were banned in the UK from 1999. It is therefore possible that asbestos containing materials are present within your property. Typical locations for asbestos containing materials are:

  • Cement water tanks and pipe lagging Loose fill insulation
  • Textured decorative coatings e.g. Artex
  • Asbestos insulating board (AIB) Ceiling tiles, window panels and partition walls AIB Bath panels
  • Toilet seat and cistern AIB behind fuse box AIB around boiler Vinyl floor tiles
  • AIB panel behind fire
  • Roof soffits, gutters and asbestos cement down pipes Soffits – AIB or asbestos cement AIB exterior window panel Asbestos cement roofing sheets
  • Roofing felt

Undisturbed asbestos usually causes no problems. However, loose asbestos fibres can seriously damage your health. The most common diseases associated with asbestos exposure are lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Asbestos fibres can only affect your health if they become damaged, either accidently or while they are being worked on during building work or DIY.

How can you reduce the risk?

  • Discuss any works you propose to carry out on your property with the Property Office before starting.
  • Don’t repair or remove any material that you think may contain asbestos.
  • Don’t cut, break, saw, drill, sand or disturb anything you think may contain asbestos. If you don’t know what a material is made from, assume that it contains asbestos.
  • If you think you may have damaged or disturbed asbestos contact us.


Legionella are bacteria common in natural and artificial water systems, e.g. hot and cold water systems. Legionella can survive in low temperatures but thrive at temperatures between 20°c - 45°c. High temperatures of 60°c and over will kill them.

Legionella bacteria can multiply in hot or cold water systems and storage tanks in residential properties and then be spread e.g. in spray from showers and taps.

The risks from hot and cold water systems in most residential settings are generally considered to be low owing to regular water usage and turnover. A typical ‘low risk’ example may be found in a small building (e.g. housing unit) with small domestic-type water systems, where daily water usage is inevitable and sufficient to turn over the entire system; where cold water is directly from a wholesome mains supply (no stored water tanks); where hot water is fed from instantaneous heaters or low volume water heaters (supplying outlets at 50 °C); and where the only outlets are toilets and wash hand basins.

Implementing simple, proportionate and appropriate control measures will ensure the risk remains low. For most domestic hot and cold water systems, temperature is the most reliable way of ensuing the risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria is minimised i.e. keep the hot water hot, cold water cold and keep it moving. Other simple control measures to help control the risk of exposure to Legionella include:

  • Flushing out the system prior to letting the property and after a holiday period
  • Avoiding debris getting into the system (e.g. ensure the cold water tanks, where fitted, have a tight fitting lid)
  • Setting control parameters (e.g. setting the temperature of the hot water cylinder (calorifier) to ensure water is stored at 60°C)
  • Make sure any redundant pipework identified is removed.
  • Flushing through little used outlets e.g. sinks in bedrooms

The risk is further lowered where instantaneous water heaters (for example combi boilers and electric showers) are installed because there is no water storage. Any maintenance works to plumbing installations will be arranged by the Diocesan Surveyor.

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