October 31, 2019

Key Health & Safety Updates to be Aware of: Brexit No-Deal Guidance, WELs, FFIs & Fire Safety

If you’d like to understand recent H&S legislative updates that might affect you and your business, read on.

Brexit No-deal guidance

Your duties to protect the health and safety of the people affected by your work will not change with Brexit. The HSE have produced guidance Health and Safety Made Simple: The Basics for Your Business – this will help you to comply with the law.

The HSE have also produced guidance to help you prepare in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal (and therefore without an implementation period):

  • Working with explosives
  • Workplace equipment and machinery
  • Chemicals industry guidance
    • Biocides Authorisation of biocidal substances and products
    • CLP Classification, labelling and packaging of substances and chemicals
    • PIC Export and import of hazardous chemicals from and into Europe
    • PPP Pesticides or Plant Protection Products
    • REACH Registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals

Workplace exposure limits

New and revised workplace exposure limits (WELs) were in force from August 2018; carcinogens and mutagens should be reduced to as low as is reasonably practicable. Contact Moorepay for details of the changes that came into force.

Fees for intervention

If the HSE visit your workplace and find that you are in material breach of health and safety law, you will have to pay for the time it takes them to identify what is wrong and to help you put things right. This is called a fee for intervention (FFI).

If you don’t break the law, you won’t pay anything. Duty holders who comply with the law, or where there is no material breach, will not be charged FFI for any work that the HSE does with them.

The cost per hour has risen to £154.00

Sentencing Guidelines

Since the introduction of the sentencing guidelines in 2016, a recent evaluation shows:

  • For every two companies prosecuted, 1 individual is prosecuted
  • Individual prosecutions are on the way up
  • Nearly 60% of people are fined
  • 20-30% get suspended prison sentences
  • 5% of custodial sentences are immediate
  • 50% of individual fines are above £6,000
  • Directors in small businesses are still more likely to be subjected to personal prosecution compared to those in larger organisations

Fire

On 5 Dec 2018 the government introduced an amendment to the Building Regulations, which will prohibit the use of ‘combustible cladding’ in high-rise buildings over 18 meters high which contain one or more residential spaces.

This ban will apply whenever work is carried out that comes within the scope of Building Regulations, so it applies to new building or refurbishment work where the external wall is involved. It will also apply if a building which is not currently within the scope of the ban subsequently undergoes a change of use that means it falls within scope. At which point the external walls must be brought into compliance with the new requirements.

Following the tragic fire at Grenfell tower, Dame Judith Hackitt conducted an Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, Building a Safer Future May 2018: Final Report.

Looking to the future

  • A new buildings safety regulator using fees for intervention (as the HSE)
  • New duty holders roles during design and construction
  • New accountable person when occupied (the owner)
  • An appointed building manager
  • Named directors where duty holders are organisations
  • Introduction of a gateway system
    • 1 before planning is granted
    • 2 before construction begins
    • 3 before occupation begins

Moorepay customers can contact us for further advice; simply call the H&S advice line with your questions. To review other changes that businesses need to be aware of, check out this blog post.

 

 

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About the author

Terry Rebanks