Health and safety professionals urge deregulation rethink

22 Jun 17

The government has been urged to rethink the deregulation of health and safety legislation in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, which is believed to have killed at least 79 people.

In an open letter to prime minister Theresa May, more than 70 leading organisations and figures from the UK’s health and safety professions have called for a change in attitude to health and safety regulation and fire risk management.

The signatories have also called on the government to complete its review of Part B of the Building Regulations 2010, which cover fire safety within and around buildings in England, as a matter of urgency.

The letter, whose signatories include the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), Park Health & Safety, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and the British Safety Council, states: “We believe it is totally unacceptable for residents, members of the public and our emergency services to be exposed to this level of preventable risk in modern-day Britain.”

Taking questions from MPs today, May said regulatory matters would be part of the public inquiry into the fire.

Labour’s Anneliese Dodds asked whether the ‘one in two out’ approach to regulation would be abandoned.

May told the Commons: “We have always taken the issue of regulations in relation to safety, very, very seriously indeed”.

She said she was in favour of “good regulation”, adding that the public inquiry in the Grenfell Tower tragedy would be addressing the question of whether fire regulations were sufficient.

Pressed by Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake on whether the government would ban combustible materials from future use, May said that would also fall under the remit of the public inquiry.

Chancellor Philip Hammond had previously said that the cladding used on the Grenfell Tower was illegal in the UK.

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