What might Brexit mean for Health & Safety in the Nursery?

Brexit                 
Image courtesy of www.socialeurope.eu
With the upcoming referendum, where British voters will decide if the UK is to remain part of the EU or to leave the EU threw up a couple of questions for us here at dot2dot nursery insurance. We thought it best to try and ask the opinions of one of our strategic partners, Croner. We wanted to know how an EU exit by the UK might affect the Nursery Industry.

Stephen Thomas, Health and Safety Team Leader at Croner, looks at the potential impact of leaving the EU would have on health & safety law.

A British exit from the European Union (EU) has Remain campaigners, Trade Unions and the Labour Party itself concerned that worker’s rights will be eroded or removed; conversely Leave proponents are playing down the impact that leaving the EU could have, promoting the fact that the UK would have complete sovereignty over its laws.

Is existing Health & Safety law fit for purpose?

Roughly two thirds of our Health and Safety laws originate from EU legislation, the requirements of which are implemented through UK-specific Regulations. Reports such as 2010’s Government-commissioned report “Common Sense, Common Safety” and the subsequent Löfstedt review in 2011 have shown that UK Health & Safety law is broadly fit for purpose therefore it is unlikely that the majority of our laws would be significantly changed should we leave the EU.

What changes could we see?

Realistically any immediate changes would focus on eliminating contentious ‘regulatory burdens’ where employers feel that they are disadvantaged compared to other countries or the cost of compliance is too great compared to the risks. Possible areas of such focus which would affect nurseries include:

  • The Working Time Regulations 1998, which are estimated by the Open Europe think tank to cost the economy £4.4bn each year
  • The requirement for Employers to meet the cost of eye and eyesight tests for Display Screen Equipment work.

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