The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
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The 29 HHSRS hazards
April 2006 the Housing Fitness Standard was replaced by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). The HHSRS was brought into effect by Housing Health and Safety Rating System (England) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005 No 3208), facilitated by the Housing Act 2004. The HHSRS operates in Wales (Housing Health and Safety Rating System (Wales) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006 No 1702)) but does not in Scotland.
Landlords have an obligation to limit the hazards listed below and to consider the impact of these hazards on the occupants of the property which may vary from tenancy to tenancy.
(A) Physiological Requirements
- Asbestos (and MMF)
- Carbon Monoxide and fuel combustion products
- Uncombusted fuel gas
- Volatile Organic Compounds
(B) Psychological Requirements
Space, Security, Light and Noise
(C )Protection against Infection
Hygiene, Sanitation and Water Supply
- Domestic hygiene, Pests and Refuse
- Food safety
- Personal hygiene, Sanitation and Drainage
- Water supply
(D) Protection against Accidents
- Falls associated with living arrangements
- Falling on level surfaces
- Falling on stairs
- Falling between levels
Electric Shocks, Fires, Burns and Scalds
Collisions, Cuts and Strains
- Collision and entrapment
- Position and operability of amenities
- Structural collapse and falling elements
Threats to health associated with an increased presence of house dust mites and mould or fungal growths resulting from dampness and/or high humidity including threats to mental health and social wellbeing as a result of living with the presence of damp, damp staining and/or mould growth.
Excessively cold indoor temperatures which cannot be easily improved or controlled. A healthy indoor temperature is around 21c, although cold is not generally perceived until the temperature drops below 18c
Excessively high indoor air temperatures, where temperatures exceed 25c, and cannot be easily reduced.
The presence of, and exposure to, asbestos fibres and other MMF within the property.
Threats to health from the chemicals used to treat timber and mould growth in properties.
The hazards resulting from the presence of excessive levels of:
a) carbon monoxide
b) nitrogen dioxide
c) sulphur dioxide and smoke
Gas appliances should be checked and there should be a current Gas Safety Certificate. Ensure adequate ventilation is provided by airbricks and vents out to external air.
The threat to health from the ingestion of lead from paint and water pipes. This includes old paint that may be lead based and accessible to children.
The threat to health from radon gas and similar gases, which are primarily airborne, but it can also be found in water.
The threat of asphyxiation as a result of the escape of fuel gas into the atmosphere within a property. Check gas or oil fired appliances and heaters. Lack of maintenance and poor seals or obstructions of the flue or chimney. The flue discharge must not be within one metre of a window that can open.
VOCs are a diverse group of organic chemicals which include formaldehyde. These are gaseous at room temperature, and are found in a wide variety of materials in the home.
B. Psychological requirements
Space, security, light and noise
The lack of space within the property for living, sleeping and normal family/household life causes various hazards and damage to the property. There should be adequate space for occupants to live and have privacy.
Ensure the property is secure against unauthorised entry. Good quality door and window locks should be provided to stop intruders.
The threat to physical and mental health associated with inadequate natural and/or artificial light. It includes the psychological effect associated with the view from the property through glazing.
Adequate light should be provided within the room sufficient for the purpose to which the room is being used and to avoid accidents.
This includes threats to physical and mental health resulting from exposure to noise inside the property or within its boundary.
C. Protection against infection
Hygiene, sanitation and water supply
This includes hazards resulting from:
a) poor design, layout and construction such that the property cannot be readily kept clean and hygienic;
b) access into, and harbourage within the property for pests; and
c) inadequate and unhygienic provision for storing and disposal of household waste.
Ensure soil and waste drainage is in good repair. Floors and other surfaces should be capable of being cleaned.
There must be adequate work surfaces for food preparation, sufficient storage capacity for storing food and cooking utensils, and the condition of surfaces should be checked. Hot and cold water must be provided.
The threat of infection and to mental health associated with personal hygiene, including personal washing and clothes washing facilities, sanitation and drainage. Ensure there are adequate bath or shower facilities and washbasins, these should be clean and capable of being kept clean. Hot and cold water must be provided and there should be adequate facilities for occupants to keep clean and wash and dry their clothes.
The quality and adequacy of the supply of water within the property for drinking and domestic purposes such as cooking, washing, cleaning and sanitation including threats to health from contamination.
D. Protection against accidents
This includes any fall associated with a bath, shower or similar facility. The bath should be slip resistant. There should be adequate drying space outside the bath or shower.
This covers falls on any level surface such as floors, yards and paths, including those in communal areas. It also relates to falls associated with trip steps, thresholds or ramps, where the change in level is less than 300mm. Ensure paths and floor coverings are in good condition. Any change in floor levels must be clearly defined and the area well lit.
It includes falls associated with internal, external, communal steps or ramps within the property or grounds of the building containing the property and giving access to the property, as well as those to shared facilities or means of escape in case of fire.
This relates to falls from one level to another, inside or outside a property, including falls out of windows, falls from balconies or landings, falls from accessible roofs, into basement wells, and over garden retaining walls.
Electric shocks, fires, burns and scalds
Shock and burns resulting from exposure to electricity, including lightning strikes not including risks associated with fire caused by deficiencies to the electrical installations, such as ignition of material by a short-circuit.
This covers threats from exposure to uncontrolled fire and smoke at a property. It also includes injuries caused by clothing catching alight from an uncontrolled fire or flame.
This includes the threat of:
a) burns – caused by contact with a hot flame or fire, and contact with hot objects or hot non-water based liquids. It includes burns caused by clothing catching alight from a controlled fire or flame, when reaching across a gas flame or open fire used for heating. It does not include burns resulting from an uncontrolled fire at a property.
b) scalds –caused by contact with hot liquids and vapours.
Collisions, cuts and strains
This category includes risks of physical injury from:
a) trapping body parts in architectural features, such as trapping limbs or fingers in doors or windows; and
b) striking or colliding with objects such as architectural glazing, windows, doors, low ceilings and walls.
Includes the threat from the blast of an explosion, from debris generated by the blast, and from the partial or total collapse of a building as the result of an explosion.
The threat of physical strain associated with functional space and other features at the property.
This includes the threat of whole property collapse, or of an element or part of the fabric being displaced or falling because of inadequate fixing, disrepair, or as a result of adverse weather conditions.