With only weeks to go until we leave the EU and rising uncertainty over whether we will leave with or without a deal, it’s important to understand just how Brexit will affect health and safety in the UK.
What’s going to happen? Which H&S regulations will be affected? How will it all affect your H&S team’s processes and procedures? These are the questions that health and safety professionals across the country are asking.
What’s going to happen after Brexit?
Despite what many think, the changes to HSE regulations haven’t been drastic so far, although there is a chance that this will change once we leave the EU.
Published as a draft in July 2018, The Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018, extended to around 8 pages. Within these pages, only half of the regulations were properly amended/changed.
Other regulations have since been altered through 2019 to ensure regulation of chemicals continues if the UK leaves the EU without a deal:
- Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP), Biocides and Prior Informed Consent (PIC)
The Chemicals (Health and Safety) and Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019
- Plant Protection Products (PPP)
The Plant Protection Products (Miscellaneous Amendments) ( EU Exit) Regulations 2019 , The Pesticides (Maximum Residue Levels) Amendments etc. (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 and The Pesticides and Fertilisers (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019
The amendments are all designed to ensure current legislation can still be applied post-Brexit. They mainly look at definitions and where possible, replace EU directives with references to other relevant UK legislation. Where that’s not possible, they provide a clear definition within the amended regulation.
The Explanatory Note that accompanies the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 also references some additional regulations. For instance, it also references The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health, which likely caused some confusion regarding the exact number of changes required.
However, all changes are purely those required to ensure regulations are still applicable within the legal framework when it sits outside of the European Union. The amendments will not change the requirements and expectations placed on business owners and managers.
It is recommended that businesses ensure they have reviewed all legislation changes and their H&S procedures before the extended deadline of 31st October 2019 to ensure they are fully prepared.