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Your WHS Responsibility when Leasing a Commercial Property

Do you own a business and want to lease a commercial property?

An important consideration when choosing a property to lease is whether the property is safe and complies with Workplace Health and Safety regulations.

As a tenant and maybe an employee, you have a duty of care under Work Health Safety Regulations (WHS) to guarantee that your business can be conducted on the premises without endangering your employees, contractors, or any other visitors to the property.

Aside from the apparent hazards of someone getting injured, an insurance company will scrutinise a businesses' Health and Safety policies to make sure the risk of any claim is minimised. When a claim is made, investigators will determine if the business owner was negligent in their duty of care or not.

Following are some questions to consider before leasing a commercial property.

  • Is the property in good condition or in disrepair?
  • Is the property's access in and out adequate, especially for potential emergency escapes?
  • Are the common areas well-kept?
  • Is there no evidence of leaks or holes in the roof?
  • Is the floor covering safe, for example, if it is slippery or a trip hazard?
  • Are any mezzanines Council and Engineer approved and in good order?
  • Does the property comply with fire safety rules - who is responsible for the fire safety equipment on the premises under the lease?
  • Are there any hazardous materials on the property, such as asbestos, that were used in its construction, and if so, is there an asbestos management plan in place?
  • Is the current machinery and equipment in good operating order on the premises? For instance, air conditioning units and hot water systems?
  • Is the lighting on the property adequate for the safe operation of your business and the safety of your employees and visitors?
  • Is the building well ventilated, with sufficient natural airflow?
  • Who will oversee your workplace's Workplace Health and Safety Procedures, and how will they be trained?

These questions are just a start to ensuring you are offering a safe working environment and covered by insurance if something does happen.

For more information about Work Health Safety for businesses visit