What does Brexit mean to Health & Safety?
I think I am probably not wrong in saying that everyone is frustrated and bored of the entire Brexit debate. But how many people have considered what the impact on their business may be from Brexit on Health & Safety arangements? Small business owners like yourselves just want to know, in terms of health and safety, how will it affect me?
Well the UK has long since been a world leader in health and safety innovations and we already adhere to the strictest Health & Safety guidelines. The outcome of the Brexit negotiations over the new relationship between the UK and the EU will determine what kind of health and safety system the UK will have going forward. The UK joined the EU in 1973, and the European Union has since played an important role in protecting the health and safety of working people. The biggest change was the Health and Safety Framework Directive (89/391/EEC) and five related directives, which established broad-based obligations on member states to ensure that employers evaluate, avoid and reduce workplace risks, in consultation with their workforce. At the time, little was required to implement the new regulations as Britain already had a legislative system in place which met most of the requirements. In fact, much of these responsibilities were incorporated into the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HASAWA), the one we all know and love today! In addition to this, a range of other health and safety directives, implemented through national safety regulations have also come about as a result of EU directives. These cover the management of specific workplace risks such as noise or work at height, as well as the protection of specific groups of workers (including new or expectant mothers, young people and temporary workers).
Health and safety protection is a major concern for all employers and their workers. Our Health and Safety laws, most of which are based on European legislation, have been reviewed four times in the past seven years and each time have been judged to be effective and “fit for purpose”. However, that does not mean that the health and safety system we have is good enough. In essence, our own health and safety is only as the good as the person/persons managing these responsibilities.
The Health and Safety (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 have been designed to ensure that European Union-derived health and safety protections will continue to be applied and enforced in domestic law post Brexit when the UK finally leaves the EU. The government has said that, in the case of some protections, technical amendments to existing legislation will be required to ensure effective operation. In effect, everything will remain as it is, until it changes!
Clear as mud? Hmmm, we thought so too!
There is always the Government’s Brexit Page, but we’ve found that as much help as the Brexit Signs on the motorways which were put up during November (ie: not very helpful at all!):
So having a retained Safety Advisor such as Your Safety Advisor Ltd will help to ensure that you always comply with and keep to best safety practices to ensure your business doesn’t fall foul of any health and safety changes. It’ll also be good for your business and give you more credibility when dealing with clients, as well as helping to ensure you’re complying with both current and potentially future safety requirements through having access to competent Health and Safety Advice.
We will of course endeavour to help keep everyone informed, but for the best service, follow #YourSafetyAdvisor or sign up for our Retained Health and Safety Advisor Service.