Letter to PM urges ministers to ditch ‘one in, three out’ regulation policy

More than 700 organisations and individuals have signed a letter to the Prime Minister calling on the government to immediately scrap its ‘one in, three out’ approach to health and safety regulation, following the Grenfell fire disaster.

The letter, drawn up by Lawrence Waterman of the Institute of Occupational Safety & Health and signed by trade unions and professional bodies including the Civil Engineering Contractors Association and the International Institute of Risk & Safety Management, says that for many years “ministers and others with influence over them have called for regulations, including in health and safety, to be axed as a matter of principle.

“Arbitrary rules were imposed to establish deregulation of health and safety, such as a requirement to abolish two health and safety regulations, and more recently, three, for any new one adopted.”

The letter argues that this mind-set has meant that, “even when it was recommended and accepted that mandatory fitting of sprinklers would make homes or schools safer, this was rejected in favour of non-regulatory action. In practice, this approach favours inaction.

Waterman said “good, well-evidenced and proportionate regulations in health and safety, based on full consultation, are developed and adopted because they save lives and protect people’s health and wellbeing.

“They are not ‘burdens on business’, but provide essential protection for the public from identifiable risks.”

The letter’s signatories urged the government to “accelerate and confirm the timeframe for completing its review of Part B of the Building Regulations 2010 and to include a focus on improved safety in the forthcoming Parliament”.

The letter called for the government to ditch its current approach to health and safety regulation now, “as it does not need to await the results of a public inquiry, and is the least that the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire deserve”.