Coronavirus: Employer’s resource centre — live guidance available here

Fire safety update stories

Health & Safety

In the wake of Grenfell, fire safety is at the forefront of public safety, but while some are making an effort to improve, there are still many examples of dangerous fire safety practices.


New smoke alarm/detector installation rules will soon apply to all social housing in Scotland

A 30 year old law is being amended to in Scotland to set a minimum number of smoke alarms/detectors in all homes in Scotland.

The changes, which apply to the Housing (Scotland) Act, are possibly being made following the Grenfell Tower blaze.

At the present moment, the standards are applied to new-build and private rented houses. When the Housing (Scotland) Act is updated the new requirement for ceiling-mounted heat and smoke alarms/detectors will apply to all social housing in Scotland.


Ongoing information in relation to the Grenfell Tower blaze

As of March 2018, out of 160 social housing blocks covered in dangerous cladding, only seven have had cladding replaced since the Grenfell Tower disaster. Government Ministers do not have information on the number of private blocks that have undergone remedial works to make them safe.

Since the Grenfell Tower disaster, 306 blocks have been identified with dangerous cladding, which the government's expert advisers believe would fail fire safety tests, with the information made available in monthly data from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Approximately ten months since the disaster, vital safety work has only been completed on seven blocks (4%) deemed to be unsafe, with 103 blocks (35%) having had no work undertaken.

No information was available on works undertaken on the private blocks.


Fire in Private Apartments situated above the Metro Hotel in Ballymun, Ireland

Information from Dublin Fire Brigade makes it likely that the cause of the fire in the Metro Hotel will not be known for at least one month, with re-occupation many months away.

Dublin's Chief Fire Officer Patrick Fleming said the fire, thought to be the largest in a multi-storey building in recent years, did not appear to be suspicious.    

The fire, which started in a private apartment situated on a floor above the Metro Hotel, did not result in a Grenfell Tower like disaster as the external cladding did not cause an external spread of the fire, with the fire spreading internally.


250 fridge-freezers, fridges and freezers named by Which? Which have advised their readers of equipment that they recommend readers not to buy, over fire safety concerns

There are possibly hundreds of unsafe fridges, freezers and fridge freezers on sale in shops, new Which? Research suggests.

The speed of the spread of flames, may be hastened by the presence of the plastic backing in the event of a fire. The current manufacture and sale of the affected fridge-freezers, fridges and freezers is not illegal as the current safety standards, due to be replaced in 2019, are met.

In March 2018 Which? undertook research into government data, showing 8% of fires caused by faulty appliances were caused by fridge-freezers, fridges or freezers, with flammable plastic backing shown to accelerate the spread of flames, however it was not the cause of fire.

A number of manufacturers have committed to replacing / discontinuing plastic backing, or are upgrading to different materials.

© Copyright of Law At Work 2021 Law At Work is part of Marlowe plc’s employee relations division