14 June 2017
Following the recent London Bridge attacks, Londoners were assured they would be protected on a night out. As trustees of the London Hazards Centre, we demand the same assurances for people’s homes and workplaces. Sadly, the warnings by the tenants and residents of Grenfell Tower were patronisingly dismissed by their landlords and contractors with tragic consequences.
This attitude has come straight out of the construction industry where, for decades, workers who raised Health & Safety concerns on building sites were treated with contempt, bullying, abuse and harassment. They were frequently dismissed and put on illegal blacklists, preventing many from ever working again in their chosen professions. Many major construction companies have eventually had to pay hundreds of millions of pounds in compensation and legal fees – with many more cases pending. You don’t have to wonder why building companies have a labour shortage.
We are now asking for three things. Firstly, the government must explain why the recommendations after the 2009 Lakanal fire in Camberwell have not been fully implemented. Secondly, Kensington Council must fully disclose all risk assessments, inspections and monitoring reports conducted across their borough. Thirdly, the Health & Safety Executive’s investigation needs to examine the extent to which asbestos and other toxic substances were spread by the fire.
In addition, the Government should immediately publish its proposals for future Health & Safety legislation and not hide behind the fig leaf of the Brexit negotiations.
Our condolences and sympathy to the families and friends of those killed and injured in the tragedy at the Grenfell Tower.
London Hazards Centre Trust Ltd
225 – 229, Seven Sisters Road,
London N4 2DA
Registered company no. 01981088
Registered Charity no 293677
Office phone 020 7527 5107 (Mon-Thurs 9.30-5.30)
Mobile 07966 664 831
Here is some information I was able to get hold of
2009 – Lakanal House tower block catches fire killing 6 people. The local authority is prosecuted for lapses in fire safety. A review is promised by the Labour government after pressure from the Fire Protection Association (FPA).
2010 – Building Regulations Act is published, including provisions for fire safety. Conservatives win election, a review is promised by the new government after more pressure from the FPA and warnings that the BR act does not go far enough.
2013 – Boris Johnson overrules the ruling body of the London Fire Brigade and uses legal action to inflict £29m in cuts. Closing 10 fire stations, cutting firefighters by 552, losing 14 fire engines and cutting minimum staffing levels from 5 to 4. By the time he steps down as Mayor of London he inflicts a further £100m in cuts to £130m total and the loss of 7000 firefighters. Fire prevention measures carried out by the service drop by over 25%. When challenged by a committee on fire safety on how cutting the fire service would not increase deaths, Boris replies “get stuffed”.
2013 – All Party Parliamentary Group on Fire Safety and Rescue produces a report strongly recommending installation of fire suppression systems and sprinklers in 4000 tower blocks throughout Britain. The Grenfell residents action group publishes a report warning that their landlord is putting their safety at risk by restricting the access ways to their car park. They are ignored by their landlord.
2013 – 2016 Conservative housing ministers sit on All Party report without action, promising they are “looking at it”, including housing minister Gavin Barwell.
2016 – Conservatives vote against a Labour motion to make sure all landlords and housing associations ensure residences are fit for human occupation, including provisions for fire safety. The motion is denied by 312 votes to 219. 72 of the MP’s voting against are landlords. The Grenfell residents action group publish a report warning people will die in a fire before the landlord takes notice of their poor fire safety provisions. They are ignored by their landlord.
2017 – Ex housing minister Gavin Barwell becomes Prime Minister Theresa May’s chief of staff. He never actions the All Party Parliamentary report recommendations. Grenfell Tower is reduced to rubble with the deaths of at least 79+residents as a fire spreads through the building in 4 minutes. It has no fire suppression system or sprinklers. The stairwell is not adequate for a full building evacuation. The emergency lighting is missing from half of the floors. The fire service struggle to reach the building due to previous car park modifications causing access issues as warned by the resident action group in 2013.
Chair London Hazards Trust
Chair London Asbesto Support Awareness Group
Member of the National Hazards campaign committee
UK workstress steering group social media officer