the anniversary of a tragedy where 72 people lost their lives, four commentators look at the regulatory and cultural changes that have been proposed, and ask if they’re enough to guarantee the safety of our buildings in future.

Richard Voke is partner and head of the risk and regulation team at Ashfords LLP, and a visiting research fellow at Bristol University’s Safety Systems Research Centre.
Regardless of any criticisms of Dame Judith Hackitt’s post Grenfell report regarding the banning or not of combustible materials in cladding, the recommended changes, if implemented, will lead to an effective fire safety management framework.
Hackitt, true to her HSE background, recommends bringing fire risk management under a control system that has the familiar characteristics of established health and safety legislation.  This is reminiscent of previous rationalisation following a major incident, resulting in HSE-influenced risk management regimes being imposed on activities that were perceived as being poorly managed with regard to safety – the most obvious examples being offshore and rail.
After the Piper Alpha tragedy, off-shore safety was moved from the Department of Energy to the HSE following the Cullen enquiry. A safety case approach, familiar to the nuclear and major hazard industries, was introduced. Then,  following a number of rail incidents, railway safety was moved from the Department of Transport to the HSE and then onto to a heavily HSE influenced Office of Rail Regulation (now part of Office of Rail and Road).
The regulation of fire has suffered from a multi-agency approach, with the fire authorities and other local authority bodies enforcing different legislation, each with an impact on fire safety, but not achieving an overall control.
Read this full story and more on Grenfell at:  https://www.healthandsafetyatwork.com/grenfell
Grenfell Tower – what has been learned in a year?

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