How will Brexit affect health & safety laws?
With only weeks to go until we leave the EU, it’s important to understand just how Brexit will affect the UK’s health & safety legislation.
We previously explored what was going to happen to happen to current health and safety laws when we left on 29th March. Well that day came and went and we’re still waiting for answers.
We have amended this previous post to bring you what we do know surrounding the changes to workplace health and safety that will come into affect following the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. How to prepare and where to get guidance in the event of a no deal.
What’s going to happen to Health & Safety legislation when we leave?
Judging by The Health and Safety (EU Exit) Regulations (Published as a draft in July 2018) only a small number of existing regulations will be affected.
Which regulations will be affected by Brexit?
The amendments are all designed to ensure the current legislation can still be applied post Brexit. They mainly look at definitions and where possible, replace EU directives with references to other relevant UK legislation. Where that’s not possible, they provide a clear definition within the amended regulation. Any legal requirements and the protection these regulations provide will be the same as they are now.
The main regulations affected are:
- Offshore Installations (Prevention of Fire and Explosion, and Emergency Response) Regulations 1995
- Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996
- Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002
- Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations 2010
- Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) Regulations 2014
- Offshore Installations (Offshore Safety Directive) (Safety Case, etc) Regulations 2015
- Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations 2015
- Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017.
- Additional amendments may apply to some regulations, such as the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018. Which references The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health also.
The adjustments to these regulations aims to ensure that, following the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, legislation related to a range of health and safety issues continues to operate effectively.
Amended NI regulations:
- Health and Safety (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018 No. 1377)
- Ionising Radiation (Basic Safety Standards) (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) (SI 2018 No. 482)
- Directive 2017/2398 on the protection of workers from exposure to carcinogens or mutagens
How will it all affect your existing health and safety processes?
All changes imposed are those required to ensure regulations are still applicable within the legal framework, outside of the European Union. The amendments will not change the requirements and expectations placed on all UK businesses.
What will your business need to do?
Employers can be certain that the procedures and processes they have in place at present will still remain relevant when leaving the EU. We recommend all businesses ensure they have reviewed all their Health & safety procedures before the deadline date.
The Health & Safety Executive website states:-
Health and safety protections, and your duties to protect the health and safety of people, will not change with Brexit.
We have made to remove EU references but legal requirements, and the protections these provide, will be the same as they are now.
After Brexit you should continue to manage your business and employees in a proportionate way to reduce risk and to protect people and the environment Your obligations to protect people’s health and safety will not change with Brexit.
Whatever deal the UK leaves the EU with, or in the event of no-deal, HSE’s approach to regulation is to preserve the UK’s high standards in health and safety and to continue to protect people and the environment.
Source – Health And Safety Executive
Deal or no deal, with Brexit approaching every industry needs to prioritise and update on site health and safety.
While HSE will still be on hand to enforce all current safety legislation, the onus is on employer responsibility. The HSE will continue to direct more effort into working with businesses to help them comply with standard legislation. Regular campaigns are to be expected throughout the year to educate and inform businesses on their responsibilities.
Staying on top of changing health & safety legislation, as well as ensuring your workplace remains compliant and follows best practice can be a battle.
Fortunately, Resolution can help, ensuring your business and workforce remain compliant and safe all year round. For more information on how, contact our experts.