October 12, 2013

Must-know health & safety legislation changes

Are you up-to-date with all the latest important Health and Safety legislation affecting your business?

Not to worry. We’ve put together all the latest changes that have taken place this October so you’ll know exactly what to do…

1. Amendment to Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981

This amendment removed the requirement for HSE to approve training providers and qualifications of appointed first-aid personnel.

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) RIDDOR 2013 replaced RIDDOR 1995 on 1st October 2013.

The main changes made by these Regulations are:

• A simplified and shortened list of specified reportable injuries (“major injuries”) to workers sustained as a result of a work-related accident.

• A clarified and shortened list of reportable dangerous occurrences (near-miss events).

• A simplified and significantly shortened list of reportable ill-health conditions in workers (replacing 47 specified ill-health conditions with 8 categories of work related diseases).

• A simplified list of dangerous occurrences within the rail sector, and removal of the requirement to report suicides in railways.

No changes are being made to:

  • Recording requirements;
  • Reports of fatal accidents;
  • Reports of accidents involving non-workers including members of the public;
  • Reports of accidents which incapacitate workers for more than seven days;
  • Requirements to preserve certain incident sites at mines, quarries and offshore workplaces pending investigation and subject to overriding safety needs.

2. Changes to the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

Section 69 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA) came into effect in October 2012 by Order of the Secretary of State.  The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (Commencement No. 3 Transitional Provisions and Savings) Order 2013 had the effect of amending Section 47 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 removing the general right to claim compensation for injury linked to breach of legislation.

Unless regulations specifically state otherwise, there will be no right to claim for “breach of statutory duty”.  Instead claimants will need to prove negligence in common law.

3. Primary Authority Schemes

Sections 67 and 68 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA) also came into force on the 1st October 2013 as a result of the same order which brought into effect section 69.  These changes amend Part 2 of the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008 which provides for the co-ordination of regulatory enforcement by local authorities by means of the Primary Authority Scheme.  It gives more businesses the opportunity to set up a Primary Authority Scheme so that they can benefit from consistency of enforcement approach across local authority boundaries.  The changes also give a statutory footing to any inspection plan agreed with the lead authority, making other authorities obliged to obtain the consent of the lead authority before they carry out inspections outside of the plan.

Guidance Notes:

All guidance notes hosted on ESGATEWAY and Moorepay Compliance have been updated to reflect these changes

What Other Changes can be expected in 2013/14

Proposed amendments to section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

A draft Deregulation Bill would, is passed, exempt the self-employed in low-risk occupations from health and safety regulation.

Proposals to revise, consolidate or withdraw Approval Codes of Practice (ACoPs) by the end of 2013

  • Dangerous substances and explosive atmospheres (ACOPs L134-138)
  • Hazardous substances (ACOP L5)
  • Pipelines (ACOP L81)
  • Asbestos (ACOPs L127, L143)
  • Workplaces (ACOP L24)
  • Gas safety (ACOPs L56, COP20)
  • Agriculture (ACOP L116)
  • Management of health and safety (ACOP L21)
  • Legionella (ACOP L8).

Other ACoPs, which may be subject to minor amendments or no change by end of 2014

  • Work equipment (ACOPs L22, L112, L114)
  • Quarries (ACOP L118)
  • Lifting equipment (ACOP L113)
  • Confined spaces (ACOP L101)
  • Pressure systems (ACOP L122)
  • Diving (ACOPs L103-107)
  • Hazardous substances – pottery production (ACOP L60)
  • Hazardous substances – lead (ACOP L132)
  • Worker involvement (ACOP L146)

Revocation of the Factories Act 1961, Offices, Shops & Railway Premises Act 1963 and the repeal of a further 10 regulations associated with the Acts

It is expected that these changes will take place in October 2014.

Revision of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations and Approved Code of Practice

A radical overhaul of the CDM regulations is anticipated for October 2014.  This should align them with the minimum requirements of the Temporary & Mobile Construction Sites (TMCS) Directive.  The Approved Code of Practice will provide legal interpretation of the revised regulations and there will be guidance for small constructions projects.  Industry specialists will be encouraged to develop sector specific guidance.

Changes to the control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 to reclassify heavy fuel oils

The proposals are to reclassify heavy fuel oils so that their storage would only come within COMAH where more than 2500 tonnes was stored.

Proposed Acetylene Regulations 2014

The new regulations, planned for October 2014, would consolidate and clarify existing requirements and would be accompanied by new guidance.

Consolidation of explosive legislation

The proposed new Explosives Regulations will consolidate elements of one Act, ten pieces of secondary legislation and fifteen exemption certificates.

New guidance for working at height

A review of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 determined that the regulations themselves were fit for purpose.  However, clearer guidance is anticipated for April 2014, to make it clear that the legislation does not expect disproportionately risk averse action.

Other sector-specific consolidations of regulations

There are planned in 2014 for Biocides, Petroleum, Mining and Genetically Modified Organisms.

Adventure activities licensing

It appears that plans to abolish the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority may only apply to England and could be delayed until 2014.

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