Barbour EHS legislation update eBook – April 2022
After a hiatus on the legislation landscape due to the pandemic, things have been picking up again with new Regulations coming into force, consultations being launched, and changes made to existing guidance.
Of note, the Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 came into force on 6 April 2022, imposing a requirement on employers in Great Britain to provide PPE to those with a more casual employment relationship who are assessed as needing PPE to carry out their work activities. The 1992 Regulations still apply, and PPE should be a last resort, with engineering controls and safe systems of work considered first.
Changes to the law around the use of mobile phones while driving have also come in effect, making it an offence whenever a driver holds and uses a mobile phone or hand-held device. It is now illegal for motorists to use a handheld mobile phone under virtually any circumstance while driving. The new rules mean touching such a device for any reason, such as checking the time, looking at notifications or scrolling through music, are banned. Anyone caught using a hand-held device while driving will face a fine of up to £1,000 and six points on their licence—or a full driving ban.
And it’s not just mobile devices that drivers should be cautious of. Despite no new rules being enforced on the use of other touchscreen systems, they can be a potential distraction for drivers and the more complex they are, the more distracting they may be. Drivers who are found not properly in control of their vehicle as a result of using dashboard gadgets or hands-free devices could still be prosecuted.
Road users have also had to familiarise themselves with substantial changes to the Highway Code, which came into effect at the end of January. New rules and revised guidance aim to improve road safety for vulnerable road users—namely, pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. The above changes to legislation around mobile phone use while driving have also been added to the Code.
It wouldn’t seem right to exclude mention of COVID-19, despite the fact the mandatory landscape looks very different than it did 12 months ago. In February, the Prime Minister launched COVID-19 Response: Living with COVID-19, setting out the government’s plans to live with and manage the virus. Along with this came the announcement that the ‘Working Safely’ series of guidance—used throughout the pandemic to advise workplaces and sectors on how to work safely—was to be withdrawn. In its place, new public health guidance which, for many businesses, is important for shaping the approach they take to managing the risk in the workplace. A range of other factors will also play a key part in determining businesses’ approaches, including health and safety obligations, workplace risk assessments, and employee confidence in the workplace. Employers will need to balance these factors and decide on the approach that best fits its business.
There are a number of environmental developments also, bolstered by COP26, the government’s Net Zero Strategy and the Environment Act gaining Royal Assent late last year. These will likely have an impact on all organisations and will make for a busy few months in policy development.
What’s included in this health & Safety legislation update?
- COVID-19 response: Living with COVID-19
- Building Safety Bill
- Road safety: Updates to the Highway Code
- ISO/IEC 27002:2022 Information Technology, Cybersecurity and Privacy Protection—Information Security Controls
- UK ratifies treaty tackling violence and harassment at work
- Employment law
- Employment Bill
- Gender pay gap reporting
- Environment and energy
- UK Energy Strategy
- Government’s Net Zero Strategy
- Environment Act 2021
To learn more, download this free legislation eBook by simply filling out the form opposite.
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