The UK EU Referendum is on 23rd June 2016 and depending on the result may have significant impact on Health and Safety in the UK.
Since the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 was introduced there has been massive improvements in the Health and Safety of the UK workforce. This ground-breaking Act has since been augmented by EU Legislation which has significantly contributed to these improvements.
The main element of the EU Legislation is the Health and Safety Framework Directive (89/391/EEC) which establishes broad-based obligations for employers to evaluate, avoid and reduce workplace risks. This includes Directives on Health and Safety covering many of the most important employment sectors or risk factors that lead to death, injury and ill-health in the workplace such as chemical safety, carcinogens, musculoskeletal disorders, machinery safety and personal protective equipment. These Directives have helped to create minimum standards across the whole of Europe.
In the UK since 1974:
- Fatal injuries to employees have fallen by 86%.
- Reported non-fatal injuries have fallen by 77%.
- Self-reported work related illnesses have fallen by 34%.
Whilst many consider Health and Safety to be "red tape" the improvements in both safety and health cannot be easily dismissed. This should be strongly considered by all in the June Referendum.
Similarly other areas to consider will include the working time regulations, maternity rights, parental leave rights, young persons, equality and worker’s rights.