Health & Safety Brexit myths busted!

When it comes to Brexit, we’re in unchartered territory. The historic defeat of Theresa May’s deal in Parliament in mid-January means we’re still waiting to see what our future relationship with Europe will look like.

There have been many questions about what will happen to Health & Safety laws when we do leave the EU. One thing we know for sure is that managing Health & Safety issues will remain a critical part of running a business, whether we leave with a deal or not.

While we may not have all the answers from the government, we can dispel some myths surrounding Health & Safety and Brexit. Read on to make sure your business is focused on the right issues.

Myth #1 – All Health & Safety red tape will disappear once the UK leaves the EU

Employers won’t need to worry as much about Health & Safety obligations after leaving the EU because laws will become much less strict with Europe out of the picture.

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It’s unlikely that lots of laws and regulation will suddenly be reversed after 29 March. While a number of our laws stem from the EU, the Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) came into effect before the UK joined the union. It’s a robust and long-lasting piece of legislation.

Commitment to managing risks and ensuring the safety of workers will remain a priority. Any significant change to that commitment could impact the UK’s international reputation.

Myth #2 – Health & Safety regulation will become less strict

The duties of employers and businesses will be relaxed or diluted after Brexit. Without regulation coming from Europe, the UK will be free of ‘unnecessary’ legislation.

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It’s been proven time and again that good risk management saves businesses money, reduces incidents and improves reputation. According to the HSE, 30.7 million working days are lost due to work-related illness and injury every year. If Health & Safety duties were relaxed, this figure will only rise, placing a huge burden on businesses nationwide.

Lee Mockridge, Health & Safety Development Manager at Citation, comments;

“If anything, leaving the EU is likely to incentivise the UK to improve themselves and become a world leader in Health & Safety. It’s about proving a point to the international community about the country’s commitment in a post-Brexit world.”     

Myth #3 – Health & Safety regulation will go back to ‘the good old days’

When the UK leaves the EU, we can kiss goodbye to risk assessments, working time regulations and everything else EU directives introduced into the UK.

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Whatever you believe to be true about Brexit, there’s no chance that the UK will reverse any of the great strides that have been made in the last four decades. Just like in myth #2 above, leaving the EU gives the UK an opportunity to excel in the field of Health & Safety.

Without the conflicting interests and drawn out approvals process between the UK and the EU, regulation around new and emerging technologies has the potential to move much more quickly. The UK has every chance of exploiting this, delivering world-class research and taking its place at the cutting edge of new regulation.

 

Into the future…

Well-prepared employers should continue to make Health & Safety compliance a priority, even in the face of Brexit uncertainty. Whatever the outcome of Brexit, appropriate risk management is the only proven way of preventing accidents or fines for not complying.

Want to make sure your business is ticking all the boxes? Start by talking to Citation. We’re here for our clients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you’re a Citation client, remember, we’re available around the clock on our advice line. And if you’re not yet, simply fill in the form above and we’ll be in touch.

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