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What does Brexit mean for UK Health & Safety?

What does Brexit mean for UK Health & Safety?

2 July 2016 Email this article

With Brexit set to dominate the news agenda for many months to come, many in our industry are wondering what this might mean for the UK’s health and safety regulations. The magazine Health and Safety at Work has gathered a number of viewpoints about what likely changes – if any – we might see. The general consensus is that the status quo in terms of health and safety culture is likely to be maintained, though there may be some changes to the way that this is managed overall.

The main statute is of course the Health and Safety at Work Act, and that has nothing to do with Europe. So if a business were to believe that exiting Europe will mean a reduction in health and safety laws they need to comply with – that’s unlikely. There might be fewer new regulations, but for health and safety practitioners I think it’s business as usual.” 

“It gives government the opportunity to review the laws we do have – the opportunity to create new regulation or to address over-regulation. But the political and social will of the country is that health and safety is an important part of doing good business."

The British Safety Council urges government to ensure that every proposed repeal for items of health and safety and environmental legislation is considered carefully. These important decisions must be properly evidence based and ensure continuity of proportionate and effective protection for workers in the UK.

Many EU health and safety and environmental directives have been transposed into UK law so currently nothing changes until the UK government puts in place mechanisms for further deregulation. However, post-Brexit it is highly likely that the UK will have less influence in the development of further EU law up to the time we leave the EU, which could be as long as two years.

"Throughout the UK membership of the EU, the Health and Safety at Work Act has been in place and effective. Without doubt we should continue to apply our successful risk-based management systems. Many UK organisations will want to continue to work and trade within the EU and it will be in their interest to continue maintaining compliance."

Read the full article here