Brexit from a Health & Safety Perspective
The past two months have been a big turning point in how the future of Great Britain will be determined. Whatever the general opinion on Brexit is, as a country, we should continue to be the front runners in the advancement of Health and Safety, and maintain our care and passion to the persons affected by our activities.
It goes without saying that the UK has been a leader in influencing EU countries and regulators in the development of robust foundations for health, safety and environmental laws. This is evidenced through having one of the lowest work related incident rates compared to other EU countries.
This should and will remain the main focal point for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and other professional bodies within the Health and Safety industry for now, and after the two-year renegotiation period for the terms of the UK’s relationship with Europe.
We want to reassure business owners that whilst many of the EU Health, Safety and Environmental Directives have been implemented into UK law, Article 50 has yet to be invoked and even then, there will be no immediate changes (if any) until the government implements a mechanism for deregulation.
Whilst we won’t know the full impact of Brexit for years to come, Health and Safety should be the foundation of every business and Health and Safety standards should not be relaxed due to the current uncertainty in the UK economy. Business owners should also consider the wider aspect of their business in relation to supply arrangements. Many suppliers within the UK rely on the EU trade market and so it will be in the UK’s interest to continue maintaining compliance.
Throughout the UK’s membership of the EU, the Health and Safety at Work Act has proved to be effective and it is unlikely to be amended. Furthermore, the HSE have recently implemented their 2016 strategy ‘helping Great Britain work well’ with the main focus of encouraging organisations to work together and supporting smaller businesses by:
- Simplifying risk management
- Anticipating and deal with new health and safety challenges
- Highlighting and tackling the costs of work related ill-health
Despite the Referendum result, employees will remain to be the main asset of every business. Because of this, it is vital that business owners continue to communicate and consult with their staff and respective union reps on any Health and Safety arrangements and changes that may affect them.