Safety experts criticise lack of action following Grenfell tragedy

13 June 2018

Safety and health professionals are calling for the Government to explain how their demands have been addressed following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire last June.

Government response to Grenfell

Immediately after the fire in London one year ago this week, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) joined with other professional bodies to call for “urgent action” in a letter to the Prime Minister signed by over 1,000 safety and health professionals.

Among the demands IOSH made last summer in the joint letter to the Prime Minister were:

  • urging “all politicians to re-emphasise the need for effective health and safety regulation and competent fire risk management”
  • calling on the Government to “to accelerate and confirm the timeframe for completing its review of Part B of The Building Regulations 2010 and to include a focus on improved safety in the forthcoming Parliament”
  • offering “our organisations’ support in undertaking the review – we all have valuable links to experts in this area who can advise on best regulatory outcomes”
  • and supporting “the Government’s commitment to act and to implement the interim findings of the forthcoming public inquiry”.

We remain concerned that Government has been slow to address some key demands meaning members of the public and employees might still face similar risks.

On behalf of the profession, IOSH President Craig Foyle now wants to know what steps the Government has taken to answer those calls for action.

“It is vital that steps are taken to ensure that residents, members of the public and our emergency services are never exposed to this level of preventable risk again,” he said. “So far, there is little sign sensible changes are happening fast enough.

“During the past year, IOSH has provided responses to establishing the public inquiry terms of reference, addressing one of the early public meetings chaired by Sir Martin Moore-Bick.

“We also responded to Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of building regulations and fire safety, recommending clearer relevant regulation, guidance and enforcement and improved fire-safety competence for all involved, as well as clear roles and responsibilities for competent organisations and individuals.

“Part of this is having the right people making the right decisions – well-trained, competent personnel. Fire safety is a complex issue, so systems should be clear, simple to understand and proportionate.

“We were pleased to see Dame Judith Hackitt’s review making recommendations aligned with ours.

“It is now up to the Government to act on these recommendations as we work to ensure we never have another tragic fire like Grenfell Tower. We urge the Government to develop an implementation plan as soon as possible. This must be made publicly available and regular updates should be provided.”

Notes for editors

IOSH is the Chartered body for health and safety professionals. With over 46,000 members in 120 countries, we’re the world’s largest professional health and safety organisation.

We set standards, and support, develop and connect our members with resources, guidance, events and training. We’re the voice of the profession, and campaign on issues that affect millions of working people.

IOSH was founded in 1945 and is a registered charity with international NGO status.

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