How will Health and Safety standards be affected Post-Brexit?

Cutting ties with the EU poses all kinds of changes, many of which were not considered during the ill-tempered referendum debate. Whilst some people stick with ‘health and safety has gone mad’ and assume it is all EU rules, there are others who understand the importance of health and safety, as well as the progress that has been made to keep people safe and healthy and work.

Does the post-Brexit landscape in the UK mean that health and safety laws no longer exist?

Draft proposals

In the summer of 2018, the UK Government released draft proposals of changes to health and safety regulations in the UK that allowed EU derived protections to continue under domestic law. In other words, the UK is adopting EU health and safety regulations or is proposing to at least.

The Health and Safety (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 will amend I1 sets of regulations including one linked directly to EU regulation, as well as changes to;

  • The Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 2015
  • The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002
  • The Offshore Installations (Offshore Safety Directive) (Safety Case etc.) Regulations 2015
  • The Offshore Installations (Prevention of Fire and Explosion, and Emergency Response) Regulations 1995

Under EUWA 2018, the bill that relates to the UK leaving the EU, government ministers can decide if EU regulations can be effective in the UK once we have left. An affirmative procedure means that changes would require parliamentary debate, whereas if a change is deemed a negative instrument, it means it can come into force without debate.

Passing through scrutiny committees, parliament doesn’t have to accept the recommendations, but the government has indicated in relation to health and safety rules and regulations, if both committees pass the changes, they see no reason to force it at debating stage. In other words, health and safety changes would become enshrined in UK law.

What are the changes?

  • The Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 2015 – the EU version said that information needed to be shared with other countries possibly affected after a major incident. In the amended version, the UK would still need to supply such information as dictated by international law.
  • The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 – the HSE would be able to make exemptions in writing, whereas previously this would only have been allowed under a specific EU directive.
  • The Offshore Installations (Offshore Safety Directive) (Safety Case etc.) Regulations 2015 – amendments focus on the sharing of information and who the agencies and bodies are. There are also changes in relation to the sharing of information in the event of an ‘incident’.
  • The Offshore Installations (Prevention of Fire and Explosion, and Emergency response) Regulations 1995 – amendments effectively ‘tidy up’ when and how EU regulations relate to the reporting of incidents and accidents.

A complicated process and landscape

Essentially, everyone from the worker on the shop floor to the highest departments of government wants to see the high standards of health and safety maintained. Amendments to acts and regulations have proved complex, very much like the rest of the Brexit process.

How can we help you?

If you are in need of assistance with any aspect of Health and Safety management, here at Synergos we’d be delighted to help. Whether you have questions or are looking for advice and support to maintain standards, call 01484 666160 or Email info@synergosconsultancy.co.uk and we’ll be happy to talk it over with you.

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