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Derek Maylor, Chairperson

During December it was noted that a Commons EDM recognised the need to maintain and build on environmental and public health standards in the UK that have been largely driven by the EU.

Obviously leaving the EU raises hugely significant questions on the maintenance of standards long term and the EDM called on the Government to work with environmental health professionals and ensure that when legislation is repatriated into UK law following Brexit; environmental and public health standards should be strengthened not undermined by new international trade agreements.

Whilst we support everything that is in the EDM it was only supported by 25 MPs.

The review of building regulations and fire safety by Dame Judith Hackitt was released recently and found not to be fit for purpose for high-risk for complex buildings so we’d support simplified and unambiguous regulations and guidance on fire safety starting with Building Regulations.

The interim report called for a change in fire safety culture and “regular” fire risk assessments required for buildings covered by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to be carried out at least annually or whenever a building is altered. One issue that will affect the FRAs on all buildings, whether complex or not, is the importance of checking areas that are out of sight, such as false ceilings or cable ducting, for compromised compartmentalisation.

The Governments speed to cut red tape was celebrated in Parliament just a few years ago by Tory MPs; lessening the need for in-depth FRA form filling for businesses, Red Tape etc. If you try a simple internet search you can find a quote saying “the current system of fire risk assessments may be "overbearing" and a burden on businesses” from a Government minister.

Cost cutting on safety kills!       

Government agencies and businesses in Australia are always innovative in health and safety initiatives so the Safety Leaders’ initiative is interesting. Targeting workers in the gas and water sectors the leadership campaign engages all levels of staff, empowering them to make good safety choices, and maximise what they have learned with the tagline “take the lead, everyone, everyday”.

The idea that any worker can take the lead if he/she sees something that can be improved has been welcomed by workers and will be continued.

As always, and in conclusion; we aim to provide the best advice and representation for our members and to:

*Ensure a safe working environment
*Promote occupational health
*Help members raise safety concerns
*Advance industry best practice
*Provide representation at national meetings
*Raise issues with other safety or government bodies

Our greatest assets are our Union Safety Representatives and we fully support them in their work.

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