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Grenfell Tower inquiry to examine council’s response to fire risk warnings

The actions of Kensington and Chelsea Council and the sufficiency of building and fire safety regulations that apply to residential tower blocks are to be looked at during the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry, the UK government has said. 

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The chairman of the inquiry, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, received the terms of reference from Prime Minister Theresa May on 15 August, following a public consultation. 

IOSH has welcomed the terms for the inquiry, which it said must be a “watershed for safety”. 

They will cover: 

  • The cause of the fire and how it spread so quickly
  • The design, construction, refurbishment and management of the tower block
  • The scope and adequacy of building and fire regulations relating to high-rise residential structures
  • Whether the terms of such regulations were met in the case of Grenfell Tower 
  • The actions of the local authority and other responsible bodies before the tragedy
  • The fire prevention and safety measures in place at Grenfell Tower on the day of the disaster
  • The response of the London Fire Brigade 
  • The central and local governments’ response in the days following the blaze. 

An independent review of building regulations and fire safety, previously announced by Ms May, will help to inform the work of the inquiry. 

Moore-Bick said he hopes to hold a preliminary hearing in mid-September and to provide an initial report by Easter 2018. 

Richard Jones, head of policy and public affairs at IOSH, said: “It’s vital that this inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire becomes a watershed for fire safety and helps prevent future such tragedies. 

“Agreement these terms of reference will help ensure key areas of weakness are examined and enable the chair to make necessary recommendations to improve both current and future fire risk management”. 

At least 80 people died when the fire devastated the 24-storey building on 14 June. 

In a letter to survivors in July, the Metropolitan Police said there were “reasonable grounds” to suspect that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the block’s management body Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation committed corporate manslaughter.

“In due course, a senior representative of each corporation will be formally interviewed by police in relation to the potential offence,” it said.


Keeley Downey is acting deputy editor of IOSH Magazine. She is a former editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine

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