The transition period for leaving the EU ends at the end of this month and from January 1st 2021 new health and safety workplace regulations will come into force.
Significantly, most health and safety regulations that come from Europe and govern safety in the workplace take the form of European Directives. European Directives must be implemented by each member state by either primary or secondary legislation. As a consequence, much of what seems to be British law actually implements law that was decided at a European level.
The laws put in place because of European Directives will continue to be a part of both Scottish and English law until specifically repealed. Much of the UK health and safety law was enacted under the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974 which will remain in force.
The key message from the HSE is that managing risk remains key and your responsibilities whether as an employer, employee, contractor, designer, supplier or landlord remain the same.
Below is a summary of the key changes for the following industries:
- From 1 January 2021, if you wish to apply for an active substance to be approved, or for a biocidal product to be authorised in Great Britain, you will need to apply to HSE instead of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Active substance approvals and new biocidal product authorisations will be specific to Great Britain.
- Businesses based in England, Scotland and Wales that place chemicals (substances and mixtures) on the GB market will have to comply with the GB CLP Regulation. From 1 January 2021, Great Britain will make its own decisions about mandatory hazard classification and labelling. Great Britain mandatory classification and labelling (GB MCL) replaces the EU harmonised classification and labelling system in Great Britain.
- When the transition period ends, Great Britain will operate a Prior Informed Consent (PIC) regulatory regime. The new PIC regime is based on the existing EU regime, but they will operate independently of each other.
- From 1 January 2021, in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) a new independent pesticides regulatory regime will operate. Great Britain will take responsibility for our own decisions using our own rules.
- After the transition period ends the EU REACH Regulation will be brought into UK law under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. REACH, and related legislation, will be replicated in the UK with the necessary changes to make it operable in a domestic context. The key principles of the EU REACH Regulation will be retained.
Supply of equipment and machinery
- CE marked workplace products will be accepted in the UK until 1st January 2022. This includes workplace goods which have been assessed by an EU-recognised notified body.
- The UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) mark is the new UK product mark for workplace products and other goods. From 1st January 2021 UKCA marking will begin to replace CE marking for goods being placed on the UK market.
- You should be ready to use the UKCA mark instead of CE marking as soon as possible. From 1 January 2022 you must use the UKCA mark on workplace goods products
- The UKCA mark will not be recognised for products being placed on the EU market.
- CE marked civil explosives goods can continue to be placed on the UK market until 1st January 2022. This includes civil explosive goods which have been assessed by any EU-recognised notified body.
- The UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) mark is the new UK product mark for civil explosives and other goods. From 1st January 2021 UKCA marking will begin to replace CE marking for goods being placed on the UK market.