MPs pushing for stronger pub safety laws to honour Harvey Tyrrell
- Credit: Met Police
Havering's MPs are pushing for stronger pub safety laws to honour schoolboy Harvey Tyrrell who was electrocuted three years ago.
The seven-year-old died in September 2018 when an electric shock “flowed through his body” from a defective garden light at the King Harold pub in Station Road.
It was later established that the pub's electrics were faulty; both the landlord and the electrician who installed those lights are currently serving prison sentences for their involvement in Harvey's death.
Since then his family - led by mum Danielle Jones - have campaigned for stricter safety laws surrounding the maintenance of electrics in pubs.
Currently, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 requires businesses to ensure that electrical installations are constructed and maintained safely - including testing.
However, while ensuring electrical safety is a legal requirement, there is no organisation monitoring compliance.
This is what the Tyrrell family want to change, with a petition created by Danielle in May already at over 51,000 signatures.
They have also had the backing of Romford MP Andrew Rosindell and the MP for Hornchurch and Upminster, Julia Lopez.
Yesterday - November 1 - the Romford representative proposed new legislation to improve electrical safety in pubs using a ten minute rule bill.
Describing Harvey's death as "completely avoidable", Mr Rosindell condemned the current regulations as "not fit for purpose”.
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He added: "We should all be confident that when visiting pubs they are going to have high standards of electrical safety.
"That was clearly not the case in this instance, with years of negligence leading to an intolerable and dangerous situation.
"It is right that those responsible are now behind bars, but it is also clear that changes to legislation are needed to ensure this never happens again.”
Included in the proposals were mandatory checks every five years, powers for local authorities to make this more frequent if necessary, and an obligation for such checks to be carried out by a qualified person.
Mr Rosindell suggested an exception for new build pubs which would only need a first check after an initial five-year period.
Danielle says the family are "truly thankful" to the Romford MP, adding that it's "imperative that standards need to be raised and adhered to when it comes to electrical works".
The Tyrrells have also been working with their constituency MP Julia Lopez.
Danielle and Ms Lopez met the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) on Friday - October 29 - to discuss the next stage of the campaign to improve electrical safety in pubs.
Following a summer meeting between the pair at the MP's constituency office, the latter took the campaign to employment minister Mims Davies, whose remit covers the HSE.
Discussions have since taken place between the government and HSE to determine whether the existing legislation is strong enough.
At Friday's meeting HSE said it recognised the importance of electrical safety and pledged to increase awareness within the hospitality industry in the run-up to Christmas.
Though a definite first step, both the MP and Danielle still have reservations.
"Both of us feel, however, that our meeting today with the HSE on electrical safety has not sufficiently addressed the serious questions raised by Harvey's untimely death," said Ms Lopez.
She continued: "While it is important to raise awareness of existing obligations on public houses and other buildings, there is a clear issue when it comes to the rigour and frequency with which those obligations are checked and enforced."
Vowing to keep pushing this campaign with government ministers, the MP praised the Tyrrell family for their efforts: "Danielle’s strength in fighting for changes in her son’s name has been incredible to witness and I want to support her in improving the existing safety regime."
To sign the petition, visit change.org/p/government-make-pubs-safe-enforcement-of-electrical-inspections-testing-and-certification-of-pubs