Tag Archives: consultancy

September 2020 Legal Updates

 

Introduction

 

We want to detail the 2020 Legislation Updates for Health and Safety. As a H&S company, we want businesses and employers to be aware of the current legislation to ensure the safety and compliance of everyone in the workplace. The current Covid-19 crisis has resulted in legislation updates surrounding exposure and control. Below, we will talk you through the new legislation and regulation updates.

 

Coronavirus Act 2020

 

The Coronavirus bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 19 March 2020. It received Royal Assent on 25 March 2020 and is now in force. The purpose of the act is to enable the government to respond to an emergency and manage the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The legislation includes:

  • Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations 2020
  • Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020
  • Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020
  • Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020

 

Brexit

 

Minor amendments have been made to regulations to remove EU references, but the legal requirements for employers remain the same as before Brexit day (officially 31 January 2020). Therefore, duties to protect the health and safety of those affected by your work have not yet changed. 

European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 has been passed into law and implements the agreement made between the UK and the EU regarding the arrangements for the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.

 

Grenfell

 

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry has been suspended for the foreseeable future after the prime minister tightened restrictions on social distancing, in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. The full report on Phase 1 of the Public Inquiry into the fire at Grenfell Tower was published in October 2019. 

Phase 2 was underway before the suspension, calling witnesses involved with refurbishing the tower and installing the cladding, including members from Kensington and Chelsea borough council and the private construction companies responsible for the design. It seeks to identify how the building failed so drastically to prevent a disaster of this scale.

Budget 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged an extra £1 billion in a new building safety fund. The funding will go “beyond ACM to make sure that all unsafe cladding will be removed for all social and residential buildings above 18 metres high.”

 

Fire Safety bill

 

The Fire Safety bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 19 March 2020 (bill 121). 

Its purpose is to clarify that the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the Fire Safety Order) applies to external walls (including cladding, balconies and windows) and individual flat entrance doors in multi-occupied residential buildings. The provisions in the bill extend and apply to England and Wales.

 

 

Key legislation and guidance that has come into force

Carcinogens and Mutagens (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2020

These regulations came into force on 2 March 2020 and aim to:

  • Protect workers, and seafarers who are not workers, on United Kingdom ships from the risk of harm from exposure to carcinogenic or mutagenic substances at work 
  • Ensure an equivalent level of protection for workers on ships and seafarers who are not workers, as for workers ashore 
  • Increase protections for those coal mine workers who work below ground in relation to exposure to one carcinogen, namely respirable crystalline silica dust (RCS dust) 

EH40/2005 (updated to 4th Edition)

In January, the HSE published a revised version of EH40/2005 which details some new and revised Workplace Exposure Limits for 13 carcinogenic substances. These revised limits may mean that you need to review your COSHH risk assessments to ensure exposure is controlled to as low as reasonably practicable. 

The new or revised entries are for the following substances:

  • Hardwood dusts
  • Chromium (VI) compounds
  • Refractory ceramic fibres
  • Respire crystalline silica
  • Vinyl chloride monomer
  • Ethylene oxide
  • 1,2-Epoxypropane
  • Acrylamide
  • 2-Nitropropane
  • O-Toluidine
  • 1,3-Butadiene
  • Hydrazine
  • Bromoethylene

Welding fume risk

At the start of the year, the HSE announced that during the period January 2020 to March 2020 they would be inspecting sites across the country which carry out metal fabrication work to check that employers are controlling exposure to welding fumes and metalwork fluids.

HSE has now revised its Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) direct advice for welding: 

COSHH advice sheets: welding, cutting and surface preparation

  • WL0 – Advice for managers
  • WL2 – Welding in confined/limited/restricted spaces
  • WL3 – Welding fume control
  • WL14 – Manual gas and oxy-gas cutting
  • WL15 – Plasma arc cutting: fixed equipment
  • WL16 – Arc-air gouging (air-carbon arc gouging)
  • WL18 – Surface preparation: pressure blasting (small items)
  • WL19 – Surface preparation: pressure blasting (medium-sized items)
  • WL20 – Surface preparation: pressure blasting (large items)
  • WL21 – Weld cleaning with pickling paste.

 

New Building Safety Regulator

The Government announced that a new building safety regulator, which was established immediately, would be part of the HSE. The purpose of the new building safety regulator is to improve building safety and performance standards, including overseeing a new, more stringent regime for higher risk buildings.

 

Building Safety Advice for Building Owners, Including Fire Doors

Issued in January, this document brings together a number of advice notes for building owners on the measures they should take to ensure their buildings are safe.

It covers the safety of external wall systems (including spandrel panels and balconies), smoke control systems, fire doors and what short-term measures should be put in place should a significant safety issue be identified. It additionally reflects the independent panel view that cladding material comprised of ACM (and other metal composites) with an unmodified polyethylene core should not be on residential buildings of any height and should be removed.

 

To Conclude

 

If you want more details about the 2020 Legislation Updates, you can download Barbour’s full Health and Safety Legislation Update for April 2020 and Beyond from this page.

You can also check out the Legislation and Guidance Updates section on our website here.

If you have any questions or want to get in touch please contact us on t: +44 (0)141 244 0181 or e: info@amalgamate-safety.com

 

World Mental Health Day 2016 – take time for Tea & Talk

Today is World Mental Health Day, and the Mental Health Foundation is encouraging people to take time for ‘Tea & Talk‘ – an initiative designed to raise awareness of mental health issues, raise money, and encourage people to have conversations with their friends and colleagues about their own mental wellbeing. It aims to tackle the still-present stigma around mental health, that sees many people conceal their problems, out of fear that they will experience discrimination at work and in social settings.

Up to 1 adult in 6 experiences a mental disorder, and it is estimated that a fifth of days taken off work in the UK are due to anxiety or depression. This is a huge problem, and it is predicted to only get worse. Research suggests that by 2030, mental health will be the leading disease burden globally.

It is vitally important therefore, that we have strong tactics to deal with it. In the workplace, this consists of two key strands – awareness and support. Firstly, paying attention and being aware of how employees are feeling, and ensuring that people know that their workplace will not judge or discriminate against people because of their mental health. Supporting conversations and openness around these issues can be a great first step in this.

Secondly, providing appropriate support, and access to services to help employees to deal with mental health problems, whether these are short-term or ongoing conditions. There are plenty of sources out there to help you with this. For example, the charity Mind has excellent free resources to assist organisations in supporting their staff, and helping improve mental wellbeing; and the HSE has a lot of content on work related stress and other mental health issues – these are a really useful starting point. Another important factor can be how your workplace values, and works to improve, employee wellbeing, and we can help you with that. For more information on our consultancy services, including Health and Wellbeing, contact info@amalgamate-safety.com or call 0141 244 0181.

CDM 2015 – Are you prepared for the proposed changes?

As many of you will be aware, there are changes being proposed to the Construction (Design and Design) Management Regulations in 2015. These significant changes to CDM will have implications to those involved in the design process and will affect how you are currently managing projects.

The proposed changes include the removal of the CDM Coordinator role and the introduction of ‘Principal Designers’, which will see a shift in duty and responsibility for the following areas:

  • assisting the client in identifying, obtaining and collating pre-construction information;
  • providing pre-construction information to designers, principal contractor and contractors;
  • ensuring that designers comply with their duties and co-operate with each other;
  • liaising with the principal contractor for the duration of the appointment, and
  • preparing the health and safety file.

As the industry starts to prepare, draft industry guidance has been issued by both the CITB and the HSE on the proposed ‘Principal Designers’ role. This is obviously subject to change but should provide you with an insight on those new requirements.

If you require CDM 2015 systems development, training or delivery support please do not hesitate to give us a call on +44 (0)141 244 0181.

What you need to know about FFI

There’s been a lot of discussion about Fee For Intervention recently. So what exactly is it all about?

The Health and Safety Executive’s Fee For Intervention (FFI) scheme was introduced in October 2012, and means that companies who break health and safety laws must pay a fee to cover HSE’s related costs – including for inspection, investigation and taking enforcement action. Since its introduction there has been a degree of debate over the implementation of FFI, and some commenters have suggested that is unfair that HSE acts as ‘police, prosecutor, judge and jury’ under the scheme.

In January the first Triennial Review of HSE, chaired by Martin Temple of the Engineering Employers Federation, reflected the concerns that many stakeholders have regarding FFI, stating that it “has been strongly linked to the need for HSE to fill the gap in its budget created by the reduction in government funding. This leads to an impression that HSE has an income target to achieve and, therefore, suspicion that Inspectors’ decisions about where and who to inspect, and what to do once there, will be based on the potential for raising income, rather than an analysis of the risk. For example, a fear was expressed that FFI would create a perverse incentive for inspectors to inspect established companies with ‘good credit’, to find ‘technical breaches’ and hence earn income.”

However, a report released in June by an independent panel asked to review FFI has noted that there is currently no viable alternative which could meet the aim of shifting the cost of regulating workplace health and safety from the taxpayer to those who break the law.

This review, chaired by Liverpool University professor of public policy Alan Harding, found no evidence that the scheme had influenced the direction of HSE’s enforcement policy. It also stated that while the scheme had not been popular, it had been “embedded effectively and applied consistently”, and that “generally, inspectors and dutyholders continue to work together in improving health and safety management”.

HSE Chair Judith Hackitt has stated that “Both HSE and the government believe it is right that those who fail to meet their legal health and safety obligations should pay our costs, and acceptance of this principle is growing”.

So, what are the implications for businesses?

FFI costs are not covered by workplace insurances and will need to be met from a company’s resources, which could potentially be an issue if budgetary allowance has not been made. Whilst this may be a concern, the priority is for businesses to ‘get their house in order’ and avoid this unnecessary expenditure by ensuring robust compliance with H&S guidelines and regulations, and demonstrating that health and safety is managed, organised and communicated with the same level of importance that is placed on other business management systems. Health and safety management systems should be dynamic, provide for goal setting, planning, and measuring performance, and should evolve to take into account changing business needs.

Over and above this, it is good practice to have a comprehensive protocol in place for handling inspections by the Health and Safety Executive, and to ensure that all staff know what their part in that protocol is.

Amalgamate can assist businesses in adopting and integrating the Health and Safety Executives Plan-Do-Check-Act model HSG65 which provides a framework for achieving and monitoring legislative and regulatory compliance.

For more information, contact us at info@amalgamate-safety.com