So, we are to be independent from Europe; what does this mean for health and safety?
On triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, Britain and the EU will begin upon a two-year period of negotiation to determine the terms under which we will deal with the rest of mainland Europe; however, one thing we can be fairly certain of is that we will not see our statute books thrown out of the window in a rush to deregulate the workplace.
Health and safety law in the UK is implemented through the Health & Safety at Work, etc Act 1974, (HASAWA). This pre-dates our entry into what was then called the European Common Market. The Act however has allowed successive governments to implement regulations either as a result of EU directives or in response to recognised risks in the workplace.
The current government recognised that health and safety legislation is often demonised as “red tape” and therefore following the Lofsted Report, they instructed the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) to review those regulations on the statutes and repeal a raft of laws which were no longer relevant or had failed to be adequately impact assessed prior to implementation. This happened in April 2013 and 13 sets of legislation were revoked, as diverse as the Celluloid and Cinematograph Film Act 1922 and the Notification of Conventional Tower Cranes Regulations 2010.
For that reason, we should be assured that existing regulations fulfil a worthwhile function in protecting the health and safety of the population without placing unnecessary burdens upon employers or workers.
The HSE, established under HASAWA, are responsible for drafting, implementing and prosecuting health and safety law in the UK and will continue to do so.
It is also worth remembering that one of the key phrases in HASAWA is “so far as is reasonably practicable” for determining the amount of effort and cost a person needs to put in to control the risk of harm to others.
So, where are we. At THSP Risk Management we believe that we remain despite Brexit, where we were yesterday, on a journey that has taken us from 651 workplace fatalities a year in 1974 to 92 in 2015 and hopefully onwards to a position where with sensible implementation of the existing laws and best practices everyone can go home as fit and well at the end of every working day as they arrived.
THSP have over 20 years’ experience in finding sensible solutions to workplace health and safety questions and we look forward to continuing to help businesss, for more information on how we can help you call us on 03456 122 144 or click here to view our full range of health and safety services.