The UK’s fire and safety regulations are not strict enough, allowing businesses to take shortcuts if they want to, a recent review has stated.
Former chair of the Health and Safety Executive Dame Judith Hackitt has released an interim report following the fire at Grenfell Towers on June 14th, which left more than 70 people dead.
She wrote: “The whole system of regulation, covering what is written down and the way in which it is enacted in practice, is not fit for purpose, leaving room for those who want to take shortcuts to do so.”
Dame Hackitt called for a new regulation system for high-rise buildings and an enforcement procedure to obligate everyone to comply, adding she has been “shocked” by several practices she encountered during her research.
The report found that current laws are too complicated; it is not clear who takes responsibility for implementing and overseeing safety regulations; residents do not know how to raise concerns; the procedure for testing products and quality assurance is vague, and the process of ensuring those assessing and enforcing the rules are competent is inadequate.
A simpler, clearer system would make those who are in charge of fire and safety rules more able to implement them, while residents would understand better what to expect from their building, what issues to raise and how.
The Grenfell Tower blaze was one of the biggest tragedies of 2017, with the 24-storey block of flats in North Kensington going up in flames at an unprecedented rate after a fridge-freezer caught fire.
It took fire fighters 60 hours working non-stop to put out the flames, and many people suffered injuries.
This tragedy is a stark reminder of the importance of fire marshal training in London. Having knowledgeable and experienced safety wardens will give those using public buildings, such as schools, extra assistance should a fire occur.