IOSH has reported that more than 700 organisations and individuals have now signed an open letter to UK Prime Minister Theresa May which challenges arbitrary deregulation of health and safety.
In the wake of the Grenfell Tower blaze, global health and safety professionals, leading academics and some MPs have joined leading organisations in signing the letter.
Sent to 10 Downing Street on Wednesday 21 June, it calls for a shift in politicians’ attitudes towards health and safety regulation and fire risk management in the aftermath of this latest tragedy.
“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,” the letter says.
It also urges the UK 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, and to include a focus on improved safety in the forthcoming Parliament.
The four organisations that originally signed the letter – 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 – have now been joined by other leading professional bodies.
They include the Association for Project Safety (APS), Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), International Institute of Risk & Safety Management (IIRSM), National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH), Trades Union Congress (TUC), and Unite the union.
Before it was sent, the total number of signatories reached 70. In just two days, this has now multiplied to over 700.
Lawrence Waterman OBE CFIOSH, of Park Health & Safety Partnership who led health and safety for the London Olympic Delivery Authority, said: “Over the last few days, we’ve seen organisations review and recalibrate their buildings’ fire protection arrangements, post-Grenfell Tower.
“In effect, Grenfell has raised doubts in the minds of the decent-minded over whether building safety regulations are stringent enough, whether the Government is setting the bar too low.
“And that’s why we, in the safety sector, want Theresa May and her Ministers to rethink their ‘one in, three out’ approach to deregulation that includes health and safety.
“We’re very willing indeed to sit down with the Government to help ensure it promotes smart safety regulations that protect people without being overly burdensome – but it’s time to scrap the red tape initiative.”
Lawrence was interviewed on the issue by Radio 4’s Today programme and a host of regional BBC stations on Friday 23 June.