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
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.
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.
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
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org