May 18, 2017

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BREXIT RISKS

Brexit puts health and safety protections for workers at risk, says TUC

The TUC has warned trade unionists and working people that health and safety protections are at risk from the government’s Brexit plans.

“The next government needs a watertight plan”, says  TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady

In a new briefing, Protecting Health and Safety after Brexit, the TUC says that although the government has set out its intention in a white paper to transfer all existing health and safety protections from EU law to UK law, there are no guarantees for what happens afterwards.

The TUC adds that the next government must make sure that a commitment is written into the Brexit deal to match present and future EU standards for workplace health and safety, as a minimum. Otherwise existing protections will be vulnerable to erosion and repeal.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Working people must not have their health and safety put at greater risk after Brexit. The next government needs a watertight plan to transfer protections from EU to UK law.

“The best way to guarantee all health and safety protections is to put workplace rights at the heart of the Brexit deal. It should be written into the deal that the UK and EU will meet the same standards, for both existing rights and future improvements.”

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Pat McloughlinNIGEL EllertonMark EllimanK RahbekJoe Raine Recent comment authors
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colin huckwell
colin huckwell

this article suggests that we (the UK) cannot look after our people as well as those that will remain in Europe (for the foreseeable future). It seams to being saying we need the EU to tell us how to be safe, yet my experience is that the UK lead the way and set the standard the EU should consider following. we should not commit to match every rule the EU comes up with, that is the whole point of the Brexit vote we are responsible for our own destiny, not clinging on to the bit of the EU that may… Read more »

Mark Elliman
Mark Elliman

Totally agree Colin, we have lead the way on safety for many years now. I wonder if anyone has looked at sites in Spain, France, Greece etc and thought they were safer than ours ?

Frank Hyland
Frank Hyland

Hmmmm – There is a point to be made there The 74 Act is one fantastic piece of legislation and has served us well the non prescriptive element allows companies to meet regulation without being told how – flexible to a degree. The European legislation took us back the other way – you will do your risk assessments- I’m sure there is a balance to be had.

Paul Webber
Paul Webber

Sounds slightly negative to me. I think Brexit will give the UK the opportunity to lead the way with health and safety. We can look forward to repealing some of the unnecessary and poorly written EU directives currently imposed on us.

Doug Florence
Doug Florence

Which EU safety regulations do you think are poorly written Paul?

My impression is that the current government see Health and Safety as a burden on industry and enforcement and H&S education as an avoidable expense. I cannot imagine them strengthening UK H&S requirements after Brexit or leading the world except in de-regulation.

Paul Webber
Paul Webber

Hi Doug Many of the regulations are already covered by our HASAW Act which has proved very successful over several decades. The HASAW Act is often used for prosecution, possibly because there are fewer loopholes and greater chance of a successful outcome. Some regulations, such as COSHH, DSEAR and many others are written in such a way, they create a great deal of bureaucracy and many colleagues in the safety world spend disproportionate time creating risk assessments. The aim surely is to have a ‘safe system of work’ in a wider sense. Many ‘shop floor’ operators will pay little or… Read more »

Graham Hendry
Graham Hendry

So what are the TUC are saying? They want watertight guarantees but in the same breath saying the government has agreed to maintain the current status quo.
They are in effect making a hollow noise likely in an attempt to increase votes for Labour in the General Election.
This isn’t newsworthy

K Rahbek
K Rahbek

I agree with Graham Hendry. Unions in this country think they know about Health and Safety, bit I have yet to meet a properly qualified union safety representative. Unions are just talking their case, not safety’s.

Doug Florence
Doug Florence

Workplace safety regulations need not be very affected by Brexit since they are made under HSAWA but it will still not be totally easy and will require significant work by our government to maintain regulations which work.. Product safety regulations based on EU CE marking Directives and Regulations will need major reworking since they rely on EU Directives and Regulations and EN standards harmonised by EU. They are based on the European Communities Act which will be repealed on Brexit so they would need to be recast under a different Act. The Articles are full of references to the EU… Read more »

Paul Webber
Paul Webber

I’m no expert on this but surely it’s possible to have UK legislation that states “products marked with EU CE standards are ok with us” well a bit more articulate but something along those lines. We will of course have the opportunity to source things from around the world if we choose …. we have various methods to help ensure we don’t accept unsafe equipment.

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Joe Raine
Joe Raine

The main statute is the Health and Safety at Work Act so a vast reduction in compliance with safety laws I think will be unlikely. It will also be a requisite for companies who want to carry on trading with the EU to continue complying. Our much knocked health and safety system is admired world-wide, and is successful. So lets hope post Brexit any change is taken with caution and a measured approach adopted. The health, safety and welfare of our workforce is GOOD for business and we all want our loved one’s to come home after a day at… Read more »

NIGEL Ellerton
NIGEL Ellerton

The EU H&S REGULATIONS were plagurised from UK we have the finest H&S in the world within the UK .Why would it be detrimental after Brexit . The 1974 H&S act is our yardstick not EU law.

Pat Mcloughlin
Pat Mcloughlin

Does the TUC live in a parallel universe? Who do they think are the driver of workplace H&S in the EU right now? The mentioned 6 back were based on UK laws and/or best practice No other EU state has an agency half as good as our own HSE No other EU state takes workplace H&S as seriously as the UK On what do I base I base my comments? 32 years of working in H&S, in over 50 countries, but then just my opinion. But perhaps I am naïve or biased? So far balance: And average of 2.3 fatal… Read more »