Gill Kernick, JMJ’s Master Consultant is interviewed by Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) editor Ian Hart and IFSEC Global Editor James Moore about the pressing need to shift the building safety culture and prevent low probability, high consequence events – such as Grenfell – from happening again.
Listen to the full interview here: Lessons from Grenfell: Why aren’t we learning?
Gill is a former Grenfell Tower resident, moving out three years before the tragedy in 2017. Combined with her work as a safety culture and leadership consultant in high hazard industries, Gill is a passionate and knowledgeable campaigner for promoting the need to change the nature of how safety is considered within the housing sector and ensure lessons are learned. She was named as one of SHP’s most influential figures in Health and Safety in the UK for 2020.
She said: “Having watched the fire, I became committed to applying the learnings of major accident prevention to Grenfell and the wider housing sector. I had assumed, falsely, that Grenfell would be a catalyst for change. Over time, I’ve sadly realized this hasn’t happened hence the need for so many of us to campaign.”
“It was predictable, absolutely preventable, and we’re not learning the lessons. We’re not changing how we think about our relationship to risk in the case of buildings.”
In the interview Gill speaks about her role as a safety consultant and how the role of the safety practitioner has changed. She then speaks candidly about Grenfell, the Grenfell Inquiry, building safety and third-party approvals in the fire safety sector.
Gill also highlights her frustrations with the lack of systemic change in the building safety sector, adding: “While piecemeal change will improve certain safety processes, the culture within building safety needs to change for lessons to be learned. The lack of political intent for systemic change, coupled with a lack of consequences for those involved in building unsafe buildings, will mean poor practice will continue. Sadly, the people currently bearing the consequences of all this appear to be the leaseholders, residents and taxpayers.”
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