March 27, 2013

Health & Safety Legislation Changes

Safety legislation in the UK are usually updated twice yearly in April and October, the intention of changes being introduced on two separate occasions is to help minimise disruption to businesses throughout the year.

Since coming into power the Coalition Government has attempted to rationalise UK Safety legislation. A number of reports have been commissioned and completed to identify areas where legislation can be relaxed, combined, revoked etc in order to remove the so called “red tape” thus allowing businesses to do what they do best.

Many of the recommendations based on the findings of the reports have been introduced, some with mixed responses from businesses and safety professionals alike. Debate will go on about regulations and law but the bottom line is that employers have a duty for the health & safety of employees and others, how this is managed and enforced has changed very little.

The Government hopes to have a full programme of reform in place by late 2013, our intention is to ensure that our clients are kept abreast of these changes as they are brought to the forefront and implemented. We will explain what this means to you.

The following leglisation is scheduled to be implmented during April 2013…

The Identification and Traceability of Explosives Regulations 2013

To implement EU requirements with respect to the marking of explosives with a unique identification code by manufactures and place record-keeping duties on others involved in the supply chain of these explosives. – Apr-13

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act (Application Outside Great Britain) Order 2013

To ensure that certain high risk offshore work activities (e.g. the construction of wind farms beyond great Britain’s territorial waters) are subject to the Health and Safety etc. Act 1974 (HSWA) – Apr-13

Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013

To implement the Sharps Directive (2010/32/EU) concerned with preventing injuries from medical sharps and applies to work in the hospital and healthcare sector. – May-13

We should also expect to see the following amendments and revocations…

Amendment to Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations1981, to remove the requirement for HSE to approve training providers and qualifications of appointed first-aid personnel.

Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Repeals, Revocations and Amendment) Regulations April 2013

To remove fourteen legislative measures, which cover :-

  • Celluloid and Cinematographic Film,
  • Construction Head Protection,
  • Notification of Conventional Tower Cranes,
  • Notification of Installations
  • Handling Hazardous Substances,
  • Gasholders (Record of Examinations) order,
  • Docks (subject to approval),
  • Shipbuilding and
  • Ship-repairing and Metrication.

Construction Design and Management Regulations 2007 Changes to be announced May 2013

Health & Safety at Work Act etc 1974 (application outside Great Britain) order 2013 Mainly for workers off shore

Information available via the following link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/offshore/legislative-changes.pdf

Amendment to Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981

The proposed amendments to Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations1981 will mean that First Aid training will no longer need to be sourced from HSE approved training providers although employers will need to ensure that the training provided is suitable.

Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013

For employers in the medical / care sectors the Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013 will have some impact on their management of ‘sharps’.

The proposed regulations build on the requirements of existing legislation such at the Management of Health and Safety Regulations and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations.

In summary, the new regulations will:

  • identify a small number of specific risk control measures that must be taken,
  • provide detail on what must be included in the information and training provided to workers; – require employers to work with safety representatives in providing information to workers; and
  • set out action to be taken by the employer following an injury caused by a medical sharp, which includes investigating the incident and ensuring in appropriate cases that treatment including post-exposure prophylaxis is made available to the injured person.

The regulations will also reuqire injured workers to:

  • report the injury to their employer
  • provide their employer with information about the circumstances of the accident.

Most employers already take many of these measures as they are contained in existing well-established practices, procedures and guidance and are unlikely to need a significant change in process to comply with the new regulations.

Summary

If you believe any of these changes will affect you and your business and need more information then please speak to your local health & safety advisor or if you have access to our advice line service please call us and we will be happy to help.

Our role as health & safety advisors allows us access to different workplaces, different industries and conditions. Whilst in general the safety standards we encounter are acceptable, every now and again we discover hazards that are insufficiently controlled.

A safe workplace doesn’t just occur; it takes time and commitment to create. If we relax the rules too much by changing legislation the risk of injury may well increase. Acts, Regulations and Guidance must be clearly communicated and understood, when they are it is easier to introduce proportionate safeguards adopt sensible safety measures.

Our goal is to help you achieve compliance through proper understanding. Please use the services we offer wisely and create a safe place of work for all.

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