Safety Industry Urges Prime Minister Theresa May to End Health & Safety Deregulation following Grenfell Tower Fire Disaster: To: All Branches
The UK Government has been urged to scrap its approach to deregulation of health and safety legislation in the light of the Grenfell Tower blaze.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, over 70 leading organisations and figures from the UK’s safety and health profession, including the CWU have written to the PM and jointly called for a political sea change in attitude towards health and safety regulation and fire risk management following the tragedy.
The collective has also pressed the Government to complete its review of Part B of the Building Regulations 2010 – the regulations which cover fire safety within and around buildings in England – as a matter of urgency, and to include a focus on improved safety in the forthcoming Parliament.
The letter is signed by all four leading UK health and safety professional bodies including IOSH, IIRSM, RoSPA and the British Safety Council.
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) are signed up.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) and a number of Unions – Unite and CWU have also given it their backing, alongside senior health and safety professionals from across the UK with more sure to join in.
There is a collective belief that this is a turning point for fire safety awareness and that it’s totally unacceptable for residents, members of the public, workers and the emergency services to be exposed to this level of preventable risk in modern-day Britain, the letter to the PM states.
The letter continues; At this crucial time of national reflection and sorrow, we urge all politicians to re-emphasise the need for effective health and safety regulation and competent fire risk management. These are fundamental to saving lives and sustaining our communities.
The organisations have expressed the strong belief that it is vital that this disaster marks a turning point for improved fire safety awareness and wider appreciation that good health and safety is an investment, not a cost.
In calling on the UK Government to complete its review of Part B of The Building Regulations 2010, the signatories to the letter have offered their organisations’ support in undertaking the review as the organisations have valuable links to experts in this area who can advise on best regulatory outcomes. In the meantime, the Government’s commitment to act and to implement the interim findings of the forthcoming public inquiry is welcomed.
Ironically, in LTB 215/2016, issued back in April, we published the crucially important research report ‘Better Regulation – Better for whom?’ by Professor Steve Tombs which looked in great depth and detail at the deregulation of Health and Safety in the UK and the lack of effective Local Government Regulation. Professor Tombs was also our guest speaker at the 2017 CWU Conference Health and Safety fringe Meeting where well over 100 CWU Conference delegates listened to an intriguing presentation of Steve’s research. He highlighted the plummeting rate of safety inspections and enforcement across the piece (by the HSE, Local Authorities and the Fire Service) and the move to ineffective self-regulation which invariably leads to inaction. With some powerful words Professor Steve Tombs summed up the present day situation by saying “The growing harm to people’s health and the numerous deaths are ‘avoidable business-generated, state facilitated violence and social murder. And, quite remarkably, it proceeds, daily – met only by academic, political and popular silence.” Hopefully, the wider public and politicians now cornered and on the spot, following the Grenfell Tower disaster will start to take it seriously.
The PM has been told that she has the power to remove immediately a further risk to people at work and outside of the workplace – unwise deregulation – which threatens public and worker safety.
The collective of health and safety leaders and major stakeholders in the UK, are therefore as one in calling on the Prime Minister to scrap the Government’s approach to health and safety deregulation and think again!
The Open letter to the Prime Minister, in full, is as follows:
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
10 Downing Street
Dear Prime Minister,
Re: Grenfell Tower Fire and Health & Safety Deregulation:
There have, understandably, been strong public reactions to the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower and its tragic consequences – the largest civilian loss of life from a single event in the UK since the Hillsborough disaster.
The occupational safety and health community is deeply saddened and disturbed by the Grenfell Tower fire and all the lives it claimed. 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.
Central Government and the Kensington and Chelsea local authority share responsibility for building standards and their enforcement locally, as well as for the funding and management of the maintenance of social housing. These responsibilities must be backed up with good, essential regulations.
However, for many years, Ministers and others with influence over them have called for, including in health and safety, regulations to be axed as a matter of principle. Arbitrary rules were imposed to establish deregulation of health and safety, such as a requirement to abolish two health and safety regulations (and more recently, three) for any new one adopted.
This mind-set has meant that, even when it was recommended and accepted that mandatory fitting of sprinklers would make homes or schools safer, this was rejected in favour of non-regulatory action. In practice, this approach favours inaction.
Good, well-evidenced and proportionate regulations in health and safety, based on full consultation, are developed and adopted because they save lives and protect people’s health and wellbeing. They are not “burdens on business” but provide essential protection for the public from identifiable risks.
At this crucial time of national reflection and sorrow, we urge all politicians to re-emphasise the need for effective health and safety regulation and competent fire risk management. These are fundamental to saving lives and sustaining our communities.
We believe it is vital that this disaster marks a turning point for improved fire safety awareness and wider appreciation that good health and safety is an investment, not a cost.
We call on the Government 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.
Together, we offer our organisations’ support in undertaking the review – we all have valuable links to experts in this area who can advise on best regulatory outcomes.
In the meantime, we welcome the Government’s commitment to act and to implement the interim findings of the forthcoming public inquiry.
You have it in your power to remove immediately a further risk to people at work and outside of the workplace – unwise deregulation – which threatens public and worker safety.
We, leaders in health and safety in the UK, call on you to scrap the Government’s approach to health and safety deregulation and think again. This could be announced immediately; it does not need to await the results of a public inquiry, and is the least that the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire deserve.
Those Signing the Letter and others sending similar communications:-
Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH)
Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)
British Safety Council
International Institute of Risk & Safety Management (IIRSM)
Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH)
Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA)
National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH)
Park Health and Safety
Trades Union Congress (TUC)
Unite the union
Communication Workers Union
Lawrence Waterman OBE
Graham Parker, President IOSH
Bev Messinger, Chief Executive IOSH
Errol Taylor, Acting Chief Executive RoSPA
Lynda Armstrong OBE, Chair BSC
Mike Robinson, Chief Executive BSC
Anne Godfrey, Chief Executive CIEH
Peter Crosland, Civil Engineering Director CECA
Siobhan Donnelly, President IIRSM
Phillip Pearson, Chief Executive IIRSM
Stephen Asbury CFIOSH
James Barnes BSc (Hons) LFOH
Karen Baxter CMIOSH
Roger Bibbings MBE
Joe Brannigan LLB (hons) DipLP PgDip Construction Law CMIOSH
Melanie Boucher, MSc CMIOSH
David Brown RSP FIIRSM DipNEBOSH MIOSH MILM
Professor Neil Budworth MSc CFIOSH FIIRSM HonFFOM
Dr Tim Carter
Iris Cepero, Editor, Safety Management magazine
Professor John Cherrie PhD CFFOH
Arnold Clements BSc, MSc CMIOSH CEng MEI
Philip J Cullen BSc (Hons) CMIOSH
Declan Davis CMIOSH
Brian Donnachie BA (Hons) CMIOSH
Phil Dyson-Hurrell MIIRSM
Lisa Fowlie MSc BSc CFIOSH FIIRSM
Shelley Frost BSc (Hons), Post Grad DipOHS, Executive Director – Policy, IOSH
Professor Alistair Gibb PhD CEng MICE MCIOB, Loughborough University
Dr David Gold PhD CMIOSH, Chair, IOSH Fire Risk Management Group
Neil Hancox CMIOSH, Managing Director, Safety Intervention Services
Cllr Ali Hashem
Andy Hawkes, Deputy President, IIRSM
Angela Hayden CFIOSH
Clinton Horn CFIOSH
Andrew Hoskins MSc CMIOSH FIIRSM PIEMA
Chris Hughes BSc, LTT Consultancy
Ian Hughes MSc BSc (Hons) Cert Ed Dip2OSH SPDipEM CMIOSH
Kelvin Hughes CMIOSH
Dr Roberta Jacobson OBE
Clive Johnson, Council Member, IIRSM
Ann Jones MBE CFIOSH
Wayne Jones, Chair, Cardiff & South East Wales Occupational Health and Safety Group
Martin Lovegrove CMIOSH MIIRSM PIEMA
James McDonald BSc CMIOSH MREHIS
Denis Murphy CMIOSH MIIRSM RMaPS
Cllr Caroline Needham
John O’Keeffe CMIOSH
Shirley Parsons MSc CMIOSH
Stu Pollard BSc, PgCert CMIOSH
Ian Rabett CMIOSH
Angela Rudkin Tech IOSH
Mike Salmon MSc, CFIOSH
Jonathan Schifferes MA
Jim Senior CMIOSH
Phil Sidman MIFE, MIFPO
Karl Simons MSc MIoD CMIOSH
Dr Susan Tannahill CMIOSH
Mohammad Torabi BSc MSc MA CMIOSH
Ceiran Trow CMFOH
Graham Twigg MSc CMIOSH PIEMA
Michelle Twigg MSc CMIOSH
Dr Emma Wadsworth, Cardiff University
Professor David Walters, Cardiff University
Louise Ward BSc (Hons) CMIOSH
Selina Woolcott BSc (Hons) DipOHS CMIOSH
Attachment: Letter to PM
Ntional Health, Safety & Environment Officer
Email Attachments – Click to download