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June 22, 2016

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Brexit: what do SHP readers think?

europe-151606_640Tomorrow, 23 June, a decision will be made as to whether Britain should remain within the EU.

The outcome – whether we remain or leave – will have a significant impact on UK businesses and organisations. In SHP, we’ve discussed what, if any, impact there will be on the health and safety community.

In an article by Richard Clarke, senior EHS consultant at Cedrec, he discussed a poll of more than 500 of its subscribers on whether the UK should remain part of the EU. He said:

“Whatever the result may be, it’s inevitable that changes to workplace legislation will follow. Leaving the EU could give the UK the authority it needs to shape employment and H&S law, however it is likely that political considerations will prevent any radical changes, at least in the short term.”

 

A stream of opinion and debate followed by SHP readers, with constructive arguments on both sides. Ahead of the vote tomorrow, we’ll share some of the thoughts and opinions of your peers.

 

“It seems to me as though the people running companies seem to think that suddenly they will not have to comply with anything health and safety related or owe any moral obligations to those affected by their business.

“With that in mind, do you think that people with day-to-day responsibility of ensuring health and safety as their job will still find the bosses funding the next initiative you come up with, or continue buying the better quality PPE, or giving you a pay rise for your worth?!

“I’m sure that if we left eventually it would all get back to an even keel, but in the interim, who knows?! Its really not that bad being in!”

Paul Cookson

“Interesting article and good to see impartiality in this type of article. It’s sometimes difficult for me to identify impartiality because of my strong view in favour of distancing ourselves from the EU. I was therefore obviously disappointed at the percentage of ‘professionals’ in our line of work wishing to stay in the EU.

“Surely we all agree that the UK could do so much better; create better legislation or adopt EU principles when we want to, rather than when we’re told. To think that people still want to be governed by unelected, incompetent, bureaucrats is beyond me.

“We should be looking beyond Europe with trade agreements based on mutual requirements of the countries concerned, not restricted and controlled by an EU boys club.”

Paul Webber

 

“We have an excellent health and safety regime in the UK based on robust scientific, medical and technical evidence and research, sensible regulation and effective enforcement, bound together by information and clear communications. However, if you salami slice the regulator (HSE), and most other regulators, to such an extent that they cease to be effective, all of this counts for nothing.

“The current government has reduced the budget, and therefore the effectiveness, of HSE to such an extent that it will wither on the vine in five or six years. Supporters of the ‘Leave’ campaign would accelerate its demise.

“A vote to ‘Leave’ will see an end to social justice in the workplace.”

Peter Rimmer

 

“There is far too much trying to scare people one way or the other. You’d think we didn’t have any health and safety legislation before we joined.

“Has anyone noticed the lack of enforced H&S regulation in other EU countries? The other EU countries want us to stay in because we pay a lot of money in (if you remember, the rebates were recently given back by our chancellor due to our debt for having a good economy).

“The ‘Brexit-ers’ promise that we will have good times again without giving us any proof. The Greens think that we will suddenly burn coal again if we leave the EU.

“By the way aren’t the Germans starting to build more coal fired power stations?”

James Welsh

 

Hear Kizzy Augustin, Pinsent Masons LLP, discuss the effects of a Brexit on the health and safety profession in the Safety & Health Expo Keynote Theatre tomorrow at 12.30pm. Register for Safety & Health Expo today.

Catch up on your summer fix of health and safety content

Missed the health and safety webinar, or want to listen again? Dive into Digital Week once again to explore the 'State of the health and safety profession, sourcing PPE in the age of COVID-19' webinar on-demand alongside IOSH President Andrew Sharman, SHP editor Ian Hart and their guests.

Listen for free today.

Andrew Sharman

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Richard Preston
Richard Preston
4 years ago

Leaving will not harm how the country manages H & S but it may, just may remove the one rule suits all mentality.

Its alright imposing a single solution to H & S concerns but the the process for monitoring compliance is not standardised.

steve grimes
steve grimes
4 years ago

The only sensible vote is leave
We can then ignore eu directives and promote our own legislation ( though existing Regs will not be repealed). Harmonising Standards, dont make me laugh, if you ever get the chance to manage safety in continental europe it will be an eye opener.
Certainly in De they have greater concerns on “the environment” above human safety. Its a joke
Vote leave

Russell Whish
Russell Whish
4 years ago

I believe we are world leaders in Health and Safety standards. I travel regularly through France to Spain.. its shocking the contrast to the UK – you would think H&S didn’t exist! what benefit does the EU bring to H&S ? – none. One size fits all does not work.

Vote LEAVE.

Paul Winter
Paul Winter
4 years ago

A purely personal view, but this referendum has long since been more about politician’s careers than what is right for this nation, or for that of the wider European Union. I see those squabbling for leadership positions post referendum and their views on the NHS, workers rights and “cutting red tape”, and is doesn’t fill me with a lot of hope for sunny uplands and bright vistas. In my limited and humble opinion, leaving will start a race to the bottom with standards and conditions, all in the effort to compete. I’d wholeheartedly agree from experience that other EU nations… Read more »

Vince Butler
Vince Butler
4 years ago

Damned if we do – AND – Damned if we don’t… If we vote leave – the government will attack every item of employment legislation to the detriment of working people. Their record speaks for itself, every item of employment legislation outside of EU directives has been enhanced purely for the benefit of employers with worker rights and protections viciously and vindictively attacked. A practical example – an employment tribunal now costs the individual £1200 for a type B claims, such as: •unfair dismissal – imagine a person refusing to drill into a material that may be ACM, gets fired,… Read more »

Peter T
Peter T
4 years ago

@Paul Bibby Webber “To think that people still want to be governed by unelected, incompetent, bureaucrats is beyond me” Have you actually read HASAWA1974? So tell me whom on the Health & Safety Commission (as per original document) or the Health & Safety Executive or indeed any of the advisory committees currently writing H&S legislation has actually been elected? Apart from the Union officials of course. Far be it for me to question the competence of our regulator/enforcer (especially with Fees For Intervention in operation). You also appear to have little idea of how EC Directives work. “Surely we all… Read more »

Hamish Petersen
Hamish Petersen
4 years ago

As others here have said HSQE rules will not change as much of it was already composed by the UK long before the EU and we enforce them better than most in the EU. The same goes for employment legislation which we in the main invented and gave to the EU. We are the head of the Commonwealth, who are in the main our cousins, a much bigger, wider and more diverse group than the EU and they speak our language and use our law. Why should we align our selves to those who have never really done much other… Read more »

Sven Timm
Sven Timm
4 years ago

A short comment for one of the obviously only cultivated and valuable people in the world (directly from my tree limb in the German jungle) …. Are you serious? What kind of examples did you choose? I am travelling all over the world for centuries and saw quite a lot of failure and shortcomings, but your comments really disturb me…. And I have to admit that you sadly have very limited knowledge about EU Directives on OSH. They are just minimum requirements, any EU member state can exceed the requirements in its national legislation. The OSH sector is not harmonised!… Read more »