IOSH urges Government to act swiftly on Hackitt fire safety recommendations
The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) today urged the UK Government to act swiftly to implement the recommendations made in Dame Judith Hackitt’s review into building regulations and fire safety – adding that “lives are at stake”.
The findings from the review, published today, make important recommendations that seek to address many issues that IOSH and others have raised.
These include having clearer relevant regulation, guidance and enforcement and improved fire-safety competence for all involved.
IOSH had sought clear roles and responsibilities for competent organisations and individuals.
Richard Jones, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at IOSH, said: “We are pleased these are highlighted in the review.
“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.
“The recommended development of a single enforcement agency (the new Joint Competent Authority) should be part of this. The importance of effective enforcement cannot be overstated. It will help drive up standards, naming persons responsible so they understand that they are accountable.
“The Review’s recommendation of a new regulatory framework proposes stronger oversight of duty holders so they’re clear about, and they meet, required standards. If this does not happen, sanctions should be imposed, but in today’s report there is no indication as to what these may be.
“We suggest, in the interests of providing greater deterrence to non-compliance, they could be linked to the Health and Safety Offences, Corporate Manslaughter and Food Safety and Hygiene Offences sentencing guidelines.”
The Hackitt Review was commissioned following the Grenfell Tower tragedy last June, which led to 71 people losing their lives. It is separate from the public inquiry into that fire, which is being led by Sir Martin Moore-Bick.
Richard added: “Concerns have been raised about there being no outright ban on combustible cladding and the Government have announced that they will consult on this.
“We need to see a culture change to ensure public confidence. We need to overcome the long-standing problem of pressure being put on designers and contractors to deliver in unrealistic timeframes, leading to cost- and corner-cutting.
“Fire safety must be ‘designed-in’ from the outset in all construction projects. This good practice will reduce costs further down the line. It is down to the Government to effectively implement these recommendations. Lives are at stake.”