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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

 

2016 Sentencing Guidelines Update

On the 1st of February 2016, the new Sentencing Guidelines for corporate manslaughter, health & safety, food hygiene and food safety offenses came into effect. The introduction of the guidelines from the Sentencing Council is undoubtedly going to lead to increased fines being imposed on organisations, and increased custodial sentences for individuals. It is important to note that the guidelines will only apply to England and Wales, however there is no reason to doubt that the Scottish courts will follow the same principles.

The main objective is to ensure a consistent approach is being taken by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) when handing down sentences, and will take into account the level of culpability, the risk of harm, and the turnover of the organisation being sentenced. These three points will be the basis for the CPS’s starting point for determining fines and custodial sentences appropriate to the offence.

In order to determine culpability, harm and turnover, defined categories have been developed on a matrix system and can be found via this link – Sentencing Guidelines.

Micro-organisations

Micro-organisations (those with a turnover of up to £2 million) could face fines of up to £450,000 for serious health and safety breaches, or up to £800,000 for corporate manslaughter.

Small organisations

Small organisations (those with a turnover of £2 million – £10 million) could face fines of up to £1.6 million for serious health and safety breaches, or up to £2.8 million for corporate manslaughter.

Medium organisations

Medium organisations (those with a turnover of £10 million – £50 million) could face fines of up to £4 million for serious health and safety breaches, or up to £7.5 million for corporate manslaughter.

Large organisations

Large organisations (those with a turnover of £50 million or more) could face fines of up to £10 million for serious health and safety breaches, or up to £20 million for corporate manslaughter.

What is very disappointing is that ‘Very Large’ organisations have not been defined in the guidelines, which only go on to say: “Where an offending organisation’s turnover or equivalent very greatly exceeds the threshold for large organisations, it may be necessary to move outside the suggested range to achieve a proportionate sentence.” This could be described as a missed opportunity, as there are a significant number of organisations in the UK which could fit this description.

The liability for individuals has been well defined and holds the potential for custodial sentences of up to two years being imposed.

Ironically, there have already been inconsistencies with how the guidelines have been applied since they came into effect, which was the very problem they were meant to alleviate; and the legal issues surrounding each of the above points (turnover/culpability/likelihood of harm) have been subject to considerable debate within the courts.

What is clear is that the level of fines and potential for custodial sentences is much greater, and will continue to rise over the coming months and years as the courts build their confidence in using the new guidelines.

Notwithstanding the existing requirement for your organisation to remain compliant with health and safety legislation, the new sentencing guidelines increase the risks of more serious prosecutions.

How compliant is your organisation? To find out more about how we can help, call us on 0141 244 0181 or e-mail info@amalgamate-safety.com.

Proposed changes to ISO14001

ISO14001:2004 is currently under review and although these changes are still at ‘draft’ stage it is likely they will come into effect in May 2015 (from when the transition period for organisations already holding certificates will begin); further details on the expected changes will be provided on the Amalgamate website as they come to light.

Key changes

  • Improved top management leadership and commitment
  • Addressing of strategic environmental issues including the direction of the business and the interests of stakeholders
  • Sustainable development and social responsibility
  • Environmental influence within the supply chain and procurement
  • Environmental design as a tool for improvement
  • Environmental compliance and the use of performance indicators to track performance

Benefits

It is becoming increasingly important for organisations to demonstrate that they are considering their environmental performance and impact. Implementing an environmental management system provides practical tools to enable identification and control of environmental impact and improvement of environmental performance, demonstrate senior management support, encourage employee engagement, ensure legal compliance and help to improve efficiency by reducing costs and environmental impact.

Benefits also include:

  • Increased stakeholder confidence and improved reputation;
  • Advantage over competitors when tendering for business, and increased likelihood of repeat business;
  • Cost savings in waste, recycling and energy consumption;
  • Proactive management of environmental risks;
  • Forward planning to ensure on-going and timely compliance with environmental requirements; and
  • Potential reduction in insurance premiums.

What next?

Amalgamate understand that implementing and/or maintaining an environmental management system can be time consuming, but our expert consultants are here to support you.

The revised framework for ISO14001 will enable organisations to implement an environmental management system which is specific to the context of their business. Amalgamate can help you take the first steps towards certification through completion of an initial gap analysis supported by an action plan and on-going project management.

If, as an organisation, you already hold ISO14001:2004, the next step is to revise existing processes, communicate changes to your business, and implement actions, such as training, which occur as a result of the changes. If you are running independent quality, environmental and health and safety management systems, this may be a good opportunity to consider integration; forthcoming changes can subsequently be incorporated.

Amalgamate can provide you with advice and guidance on either implementing or revising your existing management systems. For further information email us at info@amalgamate-safety.com or call on +44 (0)141 244 0181.

OHSAS18001 is going international

OHSAS18001 is changing to become international standard ISO45001. The changes are currently under discussion but the proposed date for implementation is October 2016 (with an expected transition period of two to three years).

Key Changes

The main changes are expected to be:

  • More emphasis on risk management;
  • Involving, securing and demonstrating more engagement from senior management;
  • Increased strategic considerations including consideration of the needs and expectations of stakeholders;
  • Reinforcement of the need to demonstrate and understand compliance status;
  • Use of performance indicators to track improvement.

Background

OHSAS18001 provides a framework for all organisations to instigate proper and effective management of health and safety in the workplace. By having a clearly defined management system in place to identify and control health and safety, organisations are able to plan to minimise risks to their employees and contractors, ensure legal compliance, deliver effective communication and training, and continuously review and improve occupational health and safety.

Benefits

What are the benefits of an effective occupational health and safety management system?

  • Increased stakeholder confidence and improved reputation;
  • Advantage over competitors when tendering for business and increased likelihood of repeat business;
  • Creating safe working conditions for employees and contractors;
  • Proactive identification and management of hazards;
  • Reduction in workplace accidents and ill health therefore reducing costs and downtime;
  • Engaging and motivating staff through communication, consultation and training to achieve safer working conditions;
  • Forward planning to ensure on-going and timely compliance with legal requirements; and
  • Potential reduction in insurance premiums.

What next?

If you are considering implementing OHSAS18001 now is still a very good time, the changes forecast for 2016 can be considered at the outset and incorporated in the forward planning.

Amalgamate understand that implementing and/or maintaining any management system can be time-consuming. We can support your business with expert resources to either maintain your existing management system and certification with ad-hoc or regular support, or help you take the first steps towards certification. We can provide an initial gap analysis, supported by an action plan and on-going project management.

If you are running independent quality, environmental and health and safety management systems, this may be a good opportunity to consider integration; the forthcoming changes to ISO14001 can also be included at this early stage.

Amalgamate can provide you with advice and guidance on either implementing or revising your existing management systems. Email us at info@amalgamate-safety.com or call +44 (0)141 244 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.

Getting ready for the changes to ISO14001

ISO14001 is the recognised standard for environmental management, and is based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act approach, which enables organisations to manage environmental performance within a sustainable model.

Some changes will be made to ISO14001:2004 in 2015. These are aimed at providing improved benefits and consistency across management systems to organisations which use multiple ISO standards.

Here’s a brief summary of the changes:

Clause 4: Context of the organisation is a new clause requiring organisations to have a high level of awareness of their relationship with the environment, and strategic understanding of the important issues that can affect the way their environmental responsibilities are managed.

Clause 5: Leadership requires senior management to demonstrate leadership, commitment, support and accountability for the effectiveness of the Environmental Management System in regard to current, and future, business requirements.

Clause 6: Planning requires organisations to determine and document the risks associated with internal and external threats and opportunities which impact the environmental management system.

Clause 7: Support although this is already a requirement of the existing ISO14001:2004, the requirements of this clause will be more prescriptive to encourage consistency.

Clause 8: Operations now places greater emphasis on the concept of the ‘value chain’ that impacts the environmental management system. This clause also considers how organisations manage and control change, and outsource specific processes.

Clause 9: Performance evaluation combines a number of clauses from the current version, including monitoring and measuring, management review, and legal compliance; and requires organisations to hold records to prove that their environmental management system meets business objectives.

Clause 10: Improvement requires that performance improvement is continual, and can be demonstrated and evidenced.

So, what does your business need to do next?

ISO14001:2015 will enable organisations to implement an environmental management system specific to the context of their business. If, as an organisation, you already hold ISO14001:2004, the next step is to revise existing processes, communicate changes to your business, and implement actions, such as training, which occur as a result of the changes.

If you are running quality and environmental management systems which are currently independent of each other, this is a good opportunity to consider integration; forthcoming changes to move OHSAS18001 to ISO45001 can subsequently be incorporated.

Amalgamate can provide you with advice and guidance on either implementing or revising your existing management systems. Contact us at info@amalgamate-safety.com

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

Consultation on replacement of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007

The proposed Regulations will meet the requirements of Directive 92/57/EEC on the implementation of minimum safety and health requirements at temporary or mobile construction sites, apart from certain requirements which are implemented by the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The proposals support the strategic objectives of improved co-ordination, better value for money, improved efficiency and use of technological changes in Construction 2025, the Government’s industrial strategy for construction.

The main proposed changes are to:

  • make the Regulations easier to understand;
  • Replace the CDM co-ordinator role with the principal designer;
  • Replace the ACOP with targeted guidance;
  • Replace the detailed and prescriptive requirements for individual and corporate competence with a more generic requirement; and
  • Align notification requirements with the Directive and apply the Regulations to domestic clients but in a proportionate way.

The proposals will be of interest to clients of construction work (including householders as clients), designers, principal contractors, contractors, sub-contractors including the self-employed, CDM co-ordinators, safety representatives and anyone else with an interest in construction projects.

Amalgamate Safety