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Thomas Ashton Institute for Risk and Regulatory Research

Watch again: Removing the blinkers – why is it so difficult?, with Guest Speaker Dame Judith Hackitt.

6 April 2022

Over 100 people joined this years virtual TAI Annual Lecture, on Zoom and YouTube.

Before chairing the Health and Safety Executive from 2007-2016, Dame Judith spent more than 2 decades working in the Chemical industry at a time when the industry had to learn some hard lessons. Tragedies like Flixbrough, Bhopal and Piper Alpha forced the industry to recognise the importance of building and maintaining public trust and confidence as part of its "licence to operate". 

Legislation of major hazards industries played an important part in catalysing the culture change but the industry itself had to change its approach and its culture of “we know best” to one of greater humility and listening to the concerns of it stakeholders.

In this lecture, Dame Judith reflected on that journey, and drew parallels with the journey which now faces the built environment sector as it faces new and tougher regulation in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017. In particular the lecture looked at what gets in the way of cross sector learning and how we might help Construction industry players to make faster progress by opening up to learning lessons and ways of tackling the issues from other sectors.

Watch the lecture online:

Access a pdf version of the presentation:

Dame Judith Hackitt is a chemical engineer and is currently Chair of Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation formerly known as EEF. She is also Chair of Enginuity, the UK skills body for Engineering and Manufacturing formerly known as Semta, and senior non-executive director of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, an organisation which exists to support and encourage innovation in Advanced Manufacturing. She is also a Board member of HS2 Ltd.

Following the tragic fire which occurred at Grenfell Tower in London in June 2017, Dame Judith conducted an independent review into Building Regulations and Fire Safety related to high rise buildings for the Government. She began her review in July 2017 and plans to implement her recommendations in full were announced in the Queen’s speech in October 2019. She now works as an adviser to Government chairing the Industry Safety Steering Group holding industry to account to deliver the culture change needed and the Transition Board which is overseeing the setting up of the new Building Safety Regulator. She speaks and writes regularly on the need for industry to step up to its responsibilities for safety and quality.

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