It is no surprise that Brexit and its potential impact on the UK and it is understandable then that the health and safety changes coming our way in 2019 are being shaped by these events. We take a look at the current and recent legal updates in the UK H&S world.
Health and Safety (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018
These regulations (effective 29 March 2019) aim 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.
The legislation includes:
- 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.
Note that a complementary statutory instrument, the Health and Safety (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018 No. 1377), has also been published. A similar set of Regulations have also been prepared for Northern Ireland. These regulations aim to ensure health & safety legislation continues to operate as it currently does once the UK leaves the EU. No significant changes are expected.
Ionising Radiation (Basic Safety Standards) (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018
These regulations aim to ensure that, following the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, the Ionising Radiation (Basic Safety Standards) (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018 No. 482) continue to operate effectively.
Reclassification of Mild Welding Fume as a HumanCarcinogen
The International Agency for Research on Cancer released new scientific evidence that exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer in humans. As a result of this evidence, The Workplace Health Expert Committee endorsed the reclassification of mild steel welding fume as a human carcinogen.
In February 2019 the HSE issued bulletin STSU1 – 2019. This targeted all employers and workers in any industry, including the self-employed and contractors, who undertake welding activities, including mild steel.
Sentencing Council Published New Manslaughter
Under the new guidelines employers or managers convicted of gross negligence manslaughter after a workplace fatality are likely to face longer prison sentences.
Manslaughter by gross negligence occurs when the offender is in breach of a duty of care towards the victim and the breach causes the death of the victim, and, having regard to the risk involved, the offender’s conduct was so bad as to amount to a criminal act or omission. In a work setting, it could cover employers who completely disregard the safety of employees. The guideline came into force in courts in England and Wales on 1 November 2018.
The Personal Protective Equipment (Enforcement) Regulations 2018/390 were enacted into UK law from 21 April 2018 to ensure that 2016/425 is complied with and provides enforcement powers to the authorities where the requirements are not met. The aim of this regulation is to ensure common standards for personal protective equipment (PPE)in all Member States in terms of protection of health and the safety of users, while enabling the free movement of PPE within the Union.
A transition period of one year (21 April 2018 to 20 April 2019) was applied, where both the old Directive and the new Regulation are applicable. Therefore PPE designed and manufactured in accordance with Directive 89/686/EEC could still be placed on the market until 21 April 2019.EC type-examination certificates and approval decisions issued under the old Directive shall remain valid until 21 April 2023 unless they expire before that date.
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