In my day the Fire Brigade were there to support, educate and befriend businesses and homes and help them to get fire safety right so that lives were protected. These days they seem to have a new piece of equipment – a metaphorical sledgehammer for cracking ‘nuts’.
I keep coming across situations where the fire authorities and the local authorities approach is oppressive and, worse, inconsistent. This is particularly true where there is dual enforcement.
We have several clients in the social housing business who are struggling with the level of enforcement. The Fire Authority seems to be using today’s legislation – which is not retrospective – to force landlords to bring their buildings into line. In fact, some fire strategies could be removed rather than upgraded – they’ve just been overprovided.
Poor advice and this sledgehammer approach to enforcement is costing businesses time, effort, money and resulting in unnecessary enforcement notices, prohibition notices and a lot of stress and worry that could be avoided.
The government is creating legislation and the enforcement authorities are interpreting this as a licence to crack nuts. It’s not good for business and, in the long run, it’s not good for the economy – I know of at least one business that the owner closed, simply because the oppressive enforcement made him ill.
Change is needed; positive change that uses a common sense approach to risk and safety. Are you ready to help us make it happen?