Human rights compromised by Grenfell-style combustible cladding

The British Safety Council welcomes the challenge to the government that a failure to address the risk to life posed by flammable external cladding, similar to that used on the Grenfell Tower, is a breach of human rights.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has written to the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government (DHCLG) outlining its concerns about the continued use of combustible cladding in existing buildings and advising the department of its responsibilities under human rights laws to protect lives.

The Commission has expressed its concern that the consultation on the use of external cladding omits any reference to the government’s duty to protect lives under article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights and schedule 1 to the Human Rights Act 1998.

“The British Safety Council has participated in the consultation, calling for much tighter building controls, clearer guidance and effective enforcement,” said Lawrence Waterman, chairman of the British Safety Council. “The EHRC intervention takes a wider view and supports our long-held and consistent argument that health and safety is a crucial underpinning of the human right to life.”

He continued: “The British Safety Council vision of no-one being injured or made ill by their work will only be realised when everyone cooperates to defend this basic human right for all. We call on the government to take a much clearer lead and responsibility for past failures to protect life so tragically highlighted by the Grenfell Tower fire.”