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Diversified Industrials: Fire Safety in the wake of Grenfell Tower – what questions, and for whom?

  • United Kingdom
  • Industrials


The tragic fire at Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017 has meant a renewed focus by Government and regulators on fire safety and proactive management of fire safety risks. Fire safety is now heavily regulated and every manufacturer must comply with appropriate legislation.

Manufacturers and industrial businesses with sites, warehouses, industrial plants or factories constructed with cladding or who manufacture external cladding, are coming under increased scrutiny. The Government and Fire and Rescue Services across the country are advising organisations to check any cladding for Aluminium Composite Materials (“ACM”), and carry out combustibility tests if present.

Our strong recommendation is that any such advice should be followed in view of the potential consequences, including criminal liability for breach of health & safety legislation.

Worker injuries within the work place, fatalities and damage to property caused by a fire can damage a business and its reputation significantly, this is a key issue for industrial businesses with manufacturing plants and/or industrial warehouses/sites nationally. The impact and cost of a fire should not be underestimated.

In addition, given the heightened focus on fire safety by the regulators, our advice is that a wider review of fire safety arrangements across your organisation and sites is timely.

While clearly very important, the focus on ACMs and cladding has, to an extent, diverted attention away from the much broader issue of fire risk assessment of all aspects of a building across all sectors including manufacturing and industrials.

Key questions

  • Could this be an issue for our industrial premises /manufacturing plants?
  • Do any sites/plants/warehouses we own, operate or let fall within the cladding testing requirements?
  • Are we complying with our fire safety duties? Even if cladding isn’t an issue, it is an opportune time to check when fire safety arrangements (in view of for example process safety) were last scrutinised. Do they need to be revisited and updated?

Who should ask these questions?

  • Industrial and construction businesses who have responsibility for the management of large industrial sites/manufacturing plants or warehouses.
  • Those planning to acquire industrial or manufacturing sites as part of a joint venture or corporate transaction

In the current climate, a regulator is likely to have little sympathy if there is a lack of evidenced assurance these questions have all been asked and answered.

Our EHS team has many years of experience in dealing with all aspects of fire safety compliance, and can answer any questions you may have