IOSH calls for “visible and tangible action” on improving building safety

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has welcomed new commitments from the UK government to accelerate building safety improvements – and calls for “visible and tangible action” to now be taken.  

This week Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced new measures to improve building safety in the UK.

The announcement includes the immediate establishment of a new Building Safety Regulator within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as well as a proposal to extend the existing combustible cladding ban and accelerate its removal from buildings across the country.

Richard Jones, Head of Policy and Regulatory Engagement at IOSH, said: “While it’s positive to hear the new government declare it won’t tolerate the slow pace of improvement to building safety in the UK, which IOSH and others have raised concern over, we now need to see visible and tangible action, with these announcements just the start of an extensive and active delivery-programme.

“Working with the HSE will be reassuring for many, given it’s a world-class regulator that secures near universal praise nationally. It has successful experience of co-regulation, as well as of operating permissioning and safety-case regimes and enforcing the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, so should be ideally placed for such a role. However, it will be vital that it’s properly resourced for taking on this substantial additional responsibility and workload for this new regime, which we understand will be fully chargeable.

“In IOSH’s response to the combustible cladding ban consultation, we emphasised the need to remove it from all high-rises in both residential and non-residential buildings. We are pleased that the government is now reconsidering its position and have clarified its guidance for building-owners.

“We also look forward to further government action on sprinkler requirements and to the Fire Safety Bill and its clarification of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.”

Last month, IOSH urged the government to “get health and safety done” and pushed for urgent progress on all the key occupational safety and health public-policy areas, including national ‘post-Grenfell’ reforms on building regulation and fire safety.