After the result of the referendum just a few weeks ago there have been many speculations about the future of the country and what effect the choice to leave the European Union will have upon the future of Britain.
There have been concerns raised regarding the changes which may occur to the European Union driven regulations in the Health and Safety sector and whether, in a desire to cut red tape around operating British business the workers employed by said businesses would suffer. While these are valid concerns there are some elements of consideration which seriously suggest that there will be little to no change at all in the Health and Safety sector of work after the United Kingdom break off their ties with the European Union.
One of the main factors to remain aware of is that many companies operate above and beyond the suggested regulations for their industry – they do this not because they are demanded to by the EU but because it creates the best environment for their business. Protecting their workers ensures that the jobs that they are tasked to complete are done so well, without tiredness from extra working hours impacting their proficiency and are done in safe environments to ensure loyalty and positive working environments.
As well as this, the legislation passed in the European Union were influenced heavily by regulations we already had in place in the United Kingdom, such as the Health and Morals Apprentices Act of 1802 and the 1947 Health and Safety Work Act. It can be seen from this that the United Kingdom was already working at these standards before new regulations were passed by the European Union. It can be inferred then that we will continue to acknowledge relevant points of the passed regulations and continue to adhere to them as a country, to protect our workers and the running of business.
Business owners in search of cutting red tape to simplify the way in which they conduct their operation will find it hard to do so in areas which would involve workers safety being compromised because of the ‘gold plating’ that the United Kingdom gives many EU Regulations that we adopt. For example, the EU Working Time Directive requires that each worker can have a minimum of four weeks off during their working year. This has been accepted by the UK and extra alterations made to in fact allow more time – of 5.6 weeks off per year (28 working days).
While the steps after the referendum result are uncertain, there is precedent to firmly suggest that there will be no great change in the Health and Safety Legislation that we have already adopted as a country. This means that those seeking to cut corners in business by abandoning workers health and safety in the process will be unable to do so – and those industries which are exceeding the standards expected of them will continue utilizing the practices which work so well for them currently.
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