Brexit and the impact it will have on the UK has been the main topic of conversation since the vote on the 23rd of June 2016.
Beyond all the financial impacts and how it will effect immigration and our relationship with the rest of the EU one part has been somewhat overlooked – health and safety.
Even though the UK isn’t likely to be out of the EU for a while yet – there is still no date to invoke Article 50 – how leaving the EU will impact businesses in regards to health and safety is something that needs to be analysed.
So, how will Brexit impact your business?
Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
The core legislation that deals with health and safety in the workplace in the UK is the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act. While this came after the UK joining the EEC in 1973 this particular piece of legislation will remain.
What the act does is basically set out what an employer needs to do to keep their workers safe in the workplace. This includes setting out directions over handling equipment, ensuring staff have proper training, keeping health and safety logs and implementing staff welfare provisions.
Every business needs to comply with this act and this isn’t going to change in the post Brexit landscape as it is a UK only piece of legislation.
What Will Brexit Change?
What might be modified is the secondary legislation that comes from EU directives.
These are health and safety guidelines that come from the EU however many of these have been enshrined in UK legislation and the UK government were at the forefront of creating these policies. Unless there is a widespread process of de-regulation in the UK after Article 50 is invoked the prediction is that not much will really change.
While some secondary legislation that comes from EU directives may be altered after we leave the EU, the change will most likely come in the form of less new health and safety laws being implemented rather than a massive difference in what we have.
The Brexit Impact On Your Business
That being said, the impact on your business after we leave the UK from a health and safety aspect shouldn’t be understated.
44% British goods and services go to other EU countries and to continue trading with them UK businesses will need to comply with EU regulations. Where businesses might feel the change is if we tighten up our own health and safety legislation. This could have the impact on trading with other EU countries if their products don’t comply with our laws.
The UK has one of the most favourable health and safety records across all EU countries and it is unlikely that this will be affected in the future. Even though there is a massive amount of uncertainty over how Brexit will affect British businesses in the realm of health and safety the impact is likely to be minimal.
We can’t say for sure what will happen in the next few years however the basics of health and safety in Britain is enshrined in UK law and it is doubtful that this will change anytime soon.