Orbit becomes first housing association to adopt Safer by design standards

Orbit has become the first affordable housing provider to adopt the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Safer by design framework for all future new-build homes.

Safer by design is a framework aimed at reducing the more than 6,000 accidental deaths – and many more serious injuries – that occur in our own homes each year, leading to heartbreak for individuals and huge burdens on the economy and society.

It is often the most vulnerable – the very young and older people – that fall victim to home accidents.

For this reason, Safer by design offers housebuilders and architects easy-to-implement, economically-viable solutions that “design out” potential serious accidental injury in new-build homes, by concentrating on the most common hazards: falls, burns, carbon monoxide poisoning, entrapment, and poisoning from access to household chemicals.

Head of Health and Safety at Orbit Group, Jayne Lombardi, comments: “We have always had a strong commitment to ensure the safety of all those working or living in our homes. RoSPA’s Safer by design standards go above and beyond building regulations, and as the first affordable housing provider to adopt this framework, we are proud that Orbit is leading the sector on building safety.

“Many of these changes are really very simple. In fact, it’s amazing that something so simple can have such a massive impact on lives.”

Helen Moore, Managing Director of Orbit Homes, said: “Many accidents can be avoided through simple and low-cost design changes, which make the home physically safer by eradicating risks.

“This framework has been embedded within our design standards. From next year all of our new-build homes will be built to Safer by design Gold Standard, ensuring that our homes are amongst the safest on the market and meet the current and future needs of our residents, supporting independence for longer in later life.”

Rebecca Hickman, RoSPA’s Executive Head of Business Development, said: “We hear too many devastating stories of lives cut short or irrevocably changed by accidents that happen to people in their own homes, where they should feel at their safest. And yet, they could have been easily prevented with very-low-cost solutions.

“That’s why we developed Safer by design, which makes new-build homes safer for their entire life, for whoever lives there. We’re delighted that Orbit has picked up the framework and run with it, and we can’t wait to see the first new homes built entirely in line with its Gold Standard. The more organisations we can get signed up to Safer by design, the more lives we can save, and we thank Orbit for being pioneers.”

Orbit has a long history of ongoing commitment to safety and best practice, being recognised previously for RoSPA Gold Awards in both Health & Safety and Customer Safety, and having previously partnered with RoSPA in its Brighter Beginnings campaign aimed to help reduce accidents in the home as part of Family Safety Week 2019.

Safer by design offers housebuilders the opportunity to have their homes graded by RoSPA, based on the interventions included in the framework, which can then be displayed to all potential home owners.

For more information on RoSPA’s Safer by Design framework, see www.rospa.com/built-environment.