What will Health & Safety rules look like after Brexit?

We’ve heard a lot of talk in recent weeks and months about Health & Safety laws will look like in the UK post-Brexit.

Some people are under the impression that with the end of our relationship with the EU that the Health and Safety rules that we live by will get thrown out the window. People have been talking about the end of red tape and regulations so before you start tearing up your health and safety manuals we thought it might be time for a bit of a reality check.

What happens at the beginning of January?

At the beginning of January, the Brexit transition period will end. To be absolutely clear it will still be business owners’ responsibility to protect the health and safety of people affected by their work activities.

Will the current health and safety laws still apply to the UK immediately after Brexit?

Most of our health and safety regulations that came from Europe are about safety in the workplace and took the form of European Directives. Although these laws were decided at a European level they were made with the consent of the UK Government – they were not necessarily imposed on us.

These laws will remain in place unless they are specifically repealed. Going forward, the main difference is the UK Government will have the power to change these regulations without reference to the EU.

Can we expect to see the existing laws thrown out in the future?

It is unlikely that lots of laws will suddenly be reversed. Setting aside for a minute the laws that came into force through European Directives, many of our existing health and safety laws stem from the Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) which came into effect before the UK joined the EU.

The UK has made great strides with regards to health and safety in the workplace over the years. The latest figures from the HSE show Great Britain is one of the safest places in the world to work with one of the lowest numbers of death on record. However, the figures also revealed that in 2019/2020, 38.8 million working days were lost which cost the British economy £16.2 billion. There were also 111 fatal injuries at work and 1.6 million people were recorded as suffering from a work-related illness.

Given the personal and economic costs involved it is expected that future UK governments would want to ensure that managing risks and ensuring the safety of workers remains a priority.

Where can I find more information?

Further guidance on how to make sure your business complies with the law is available on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website at Health and Safety Made Simple: The basics for your business – HSE

Does this mean Health & Safety will continue to be a headache for my business?

No. Health and Safety rules are there to protect everyone and whilst for firms the topic can sometimes feel overwhelming help is at hand.

As a leading UK health and safety consultancy, Acorn Safety Services has the capability to exceed the diverse needs of our clients – from conducting a site safety inspection of a construction site to performing fire risk assessments at schools and providing CDM (Construction, Design and Management) consultancy services on behalf of duty holders and much more.

We also offer Retained Health and Safety Consultant Services. This is ideal for businesses who want to protect themselves from what they see as the onslaught of health and safety government regulation without the expensive overhead of a full-time employee.

Whatever your requirements, we have the ability, experience and qualifications to execute any project with and success and to your satisfaction.

If you need health and safety advice visit http://acornhealthandsafety.co.uk/ or contact us at info@acornhealthandsafety.co.uk or on 01604 930380.

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Neil Munro