January 27, 2023

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Retained EU Law Bill

Key HS stakeholders urge Government to reconsider Retained EU Law Bill

Key voices from the health and safety sector are calling on the Government to scrap arbitrary deadlines of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill.

The group, including the British Safety Council, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, says the Government needs to ensure there is enough time and a full consultative process of the Bill.

The call to arms is also supported by The British Occupational Hygiene Society, The International Institute of Risk and Safety Management, The British Safety Industry Federation, The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

The joint statement released today acknowledges the benefit of change but urges caution. It reads: “Given Britain’s long-standing record as a global leader in health and safety, we understand the need for continuous improvement and how regularly reviewing legislation can build more effective frameworks. However, we are concerned that the timeframe set forth for implementing the Retained EU Law Bill could lead to increased harm. While we agree the revision and improvement of UK health and safety laws would be positive, we are conscious that better regulation is not de-regulation.

“To ensure the safety and health outcomes of Britain’s workforce and therefore the resilience of its businesses, regulations must be reviewed sensibly, with due scrutiny and in consultation with both the occupational safety and health profession and business leaders. Rushing to implement the Bill as it stands, without clarity on which laws the Bill covers, and with the sunset clauses it contains, will undermine our health and safety standards and protections.

“Ultimately, we need more time and a more transparent process. Time to take an evidence-based approach, to treat each law individually, and to look at the overarching reason the law was originally passed. Every law has a considered aim and intention. And it is this aim and intention that we must carefully consider against the needs and necessary protections of workers and their rights, and the needs of all people and business, today and in the future, to be safe, healthy and sustainable.

“Whether we’re looking at child safety, occupational health and safety, road safety or home safety, our approach remains the same. We want to ensure that the UK is protected by relevant, evidence-based laws – and to be assured that we have taken the time to treat each one of the thousands of pieces of legislation on its individual merit.

“We therefore call upon the Government to meet with us to discuss the impending Bill so that we can work together to offer constructive opinion.  Put simply, we would like a thorough and inclusive consultation and engagement process, so that we do not risk a race to the bottom and strip away our people’s rights to a life free from serious accidental injury and ill health.”

EU-derived health and safety regulations support the Health and Safety at Work Act, including the ‘six pack’ regulations, covering health and safety at work, manual handling operations, the use of display screen equipment, health, safety and welfare at work, the provision and use of work equipment and the provision and use of PPE.

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Peter Gotch
Peter Gotch
1 year ago

Unlikely that it will be “Key HS stakeholder” such as those mentioned who will put an end to this Jacob Rees-Mogg project. It will be UK business that influences a change of Government position at a time when JRM has been returned to the Back Benches. Rishi has enough problems without a rebellion by Tory MPs on something so easily ditched.

Andrew Deacon CFIOSH, MIIRSM.
Andrew Deacon CFIOSH, MIIRSM.
1 year ago

The retained EU Law Bill may well bring benefits to the health safety and well being to the UK workplace if carried out in a way that builds on the succeses of the past and carefully anticipates and caters for the new chalenges of the future. It is good to see our professional bodies united in their concern over how the Government may handle the forthcoming Bill. It could also be said that this is a call to action to all practitioners to support their professional bodies to ensure that the health and safety regime in the UK is not… Read more »