Safety Legislation & Guidance Update April 2021
Our Health and Safety team have reviewed the upcoming changes to safety legislation, to provide you with practical guidance. Ensure your business is compliant with health and safety regulations to protect your employees, visitors and customers.
Shielding & Safety Legislation Changes
In England and Wales, current shielding guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people is due to end on the 1st April 2021. In Scotland, shielding is due to end on the 26th April 2021. All clinically extremely vulnerable people should receive a letter in the post in the next few weeks with updated advice.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions)(Steps)(England) Regulations 2021
These Regulations will replace The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions)(All Tiers)(England) Regulations 2020 from the 29th March 2021. They contain the legislative framework for the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown in England. This involves 3 steps, these are 3 layers of personal and business restrictions with step 1 being the most restrictive. As of the 29th March 2021, all of England will be in step 1.
Brexit – Chemical Regulations
Following Brexit, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued guidance on regulating chemicals:
- Specifically authorisation of biocides – classification, labelling and packaging of substances and chemicals.
- Registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals (REACH).
Separate safety legislation and guidance will apply to Northern Ireland.
Safety Legislation & Product Compliance After Brexit
UKCA Marking – England, Scotland and Wales – As of the 1st January 2021, there’s a new UK product marking to be used for certain goods being placed on the market in England, Wales and Scotland. It’s called the UKCA marking and it covers most goods which previously required the CE marking. It also applies to aerosol products that previously required the ‘reverse epsilon’ marking. However, to allow businesses time to adjust to the new requirements, businesses can in most cases still use the CE marking until the 1st January 2022.
UKNI Marking – Northern Ireland
The UKCA marking alone cannot be used for goods placed on the Northern Ireland market, which require the CE marking or UKNI marking. Further guidance regarding the UKNI marking can be found on the Government website.
The Fire Safety Bill
The Fire Safety Bill is currently in the final stages of progressing through Parliament.
The purpose of the new bill is to improve fire safety in buildings in England and Wales where there are two or more domestic premises. It applies to:
- The structure and external walls of the building, including cladding, balconies and windows.
- Common parts and front doors.
If the Bill goes through all parliamentary stages and comes into force, it will amend The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Building owners will be held accountable for not complying with the necessary fire safety guidelines by fire and rescue authorities.
The Building Safety Bill
This safety Bill is also currently progressing through parliament. Following the Grenfell fire in 2017, an independent review of building and fire safety was carried out. The review concluded that the whole system needed major reform to ensure buildings are safe for their occupants, from the building stage right through to when occupants are living in their homes.
A part of this Bill is ensuring that there will always be someone responsible for keeping residents safe in high rise buildings (18 metres or more in height). There will be an ‘Accountable Person’ who has to listen to and respond to residents’ concerns.
Smoke-Free Premises and Vehicles (Wales) Regulations 2020
These Regulations came into force on the 1st March 2021 and apply to Wales only. These Regulations revoke and replace the Smoke-free Premises etc.(Wales) Regulations 2007. They exempt certain premises from the requirement to be smoke-free and set out the circumstances in which vehicles are to be treated as being smoke-free.
If you require further information on how these safety legislation changes will affect your business, please contact a Wirehouse Health & Safety Advisor today.