BREXIT: Impact on Health & Safety

Health & safety has become an integral feature of property management and with topical events like the Grenfell Tower incident, the public is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of health & safety in everyday life. Health & safety, to a large portion of society, conjures up thoughts of an overly protective, red-tape, bureaucratic, spoil-sport industry, taking unnecessary measures to overcomplicate procedures. But in light of recent events and with the ever-present threat of terrorism, health & safety is more important now than ever before.

With Britain’s impending exit from the European Union, questions arise about how the health & safety industry will be governed by Britain as the majority of UK health & safety laws are derived from EU directives that have been in place for many years. These laws are firmly embedded into company’s policies and work practices. The government thus has the dilemma of how to remedy the transition of health & safety legislation, ensuring that the public’s safety is appropriately regulated. One suggestion has been for Britain to adopt an all-encompassing legislation that derives from the EU laws and then subsequently review it one stage at a time to cause minimum disruption. From this, there will be opportunities to repeal certain areas of regulation without reducing the level of protection offered to the public.

Health & safety is a crucial facet of Facilities and Building Managers roles. It is usually their responsibility to ensure buildings are compliant with legislation and implement necessary remedial works where necessary. However, because of the nature of their roles, they themselves can often be exposed to risks. Having to work from height presents dangers, therefore ensuring appropriate equipment is used is imperative to safeguard against workplace injuries. To ensure work at height is completed safely, selecting reputable, competent contractors who have been appropriately trained is essential to prevent falls. This means that while costing will inevitably be considered for cleaning and maintenance, health & safety is critical in preventing injuries and subsequent lawsuits. Lifting equipment should be thoroughly examined by a competent, trained person every six months and any defects found should be remedied immediately.

Health & safety is a crucial aspect of modern life; whether it is in the home, at work or in a public space. Preventing unnecessary injuries that damage reputations, persons and cause lawsuits is essential to any company, small and large. The uncertainty surrounding Brexit places the health & safety industry in limbo. Whatever the outcome and however long the process takes, it can be assured that health & safety will remain of paramount importance in property management.

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