Brexit is causing economic and political uncertainty across the UK and the legal implications for health and safety are unknown.
Large sections of Britain’s health and safety laws come from EU policy, so removing it from our Statute would be difficult.
Those in favour of Brexit see it as a chance to remove red tape in our legal system. However, it is unknown if this will happen.
EU regulation is so embedded in our law that removing it could be harmful. Laws shouldn’t be removed from Statute just because it came about in Brussels.
The EU has delivered many health and safety benefits to those working in our country and it is my opinion that after we leave, we should continue using the current standards to maintain current levels of worker protection.
Good health and safety management and law leads to successful and sustainable business so why change the current equilibrium?
It should also be remembered that our main health and safety law, the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 came into being BEFORE we joined the EU.
This one piece of legislation has made the UK the world leader in health and safety and is not linked to EU law. Therefore, Brexit should not lead to a large scale reduction in the health and safety compliance requirements in the UK as these are mainly underpinned by the Act.
A lot of the EU legal requirements are so embedded in company systems and policies that if there was major change, this would increase costs and our exports.
UK companies want to maintain trade links our European neighbours so it makes commercial sense to keep risk based systems in line with both the EU and UK standards and laws.
Having said that, I believe that Brexit provides the perfect opportunity for Britain to simplify the complex EU laws that have been implemented as long as compliance is made easier, and existing standards are maintained and modernised.
This could give the UK the economic advantage over the EU and lead to more business investment in our country whilst enhancing our reputation as the world leader in health and safety.
As with most things Brexit related, no one knows what the true impact on splitting from our European friends when it comes to health and safety will be, but I believe it will be minimal, especially in the short term.
Whatever happens, KSH Safety Services will be there to advise its clients on how to implement any changes in order to remain compliant and to ensure your business is ahead of the game with its health and safety management.
Businesses should not have a wait and see attitude. You have a legal and moral obligation to look after your workforce, clients and the public now. We can help you with that via our support package deals that will not cost the Earth.