2016 has seen some big changes in the world of health and safety. The new sentencing guidelines were introduced, we’ve watched health continue to move up the agenda across the profession, including the introduction of the HSE’s Helping Great Britain Work Well Strategy, and following June’s referendum the profession has been left second-guessing the impact of Brexit on occupational health and safety.
A recent example is the £5 million fine along with over £69,000 in costs imposed on Alton Towers following the accident that occurred on The Smiler ride. It will be interesting to see the extent of fines that will be imposed once the courts become more comfortable with the new guidelines. It will be even more interesting to see if these sentences act as a true deterrent, with the desired effect of lowering workplace risk.
There are further changes to come in October and November:
The Dangerous Goods in Harbour Areas Regulations 2016 came into force on 1 October. Redundant, superseded and duplicated provisions have been removed and the remaining sections have been updated and simplified and replaced by a new set of shorter regulations. The definition of a ‘dangerous substance’ has been replaced with a simpler definition of ‘dangerous goods’ based on the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code.
Employers’ Duties, Implementation, Amendment, Regulations 2016 came into force 1 October 2016. The Regulations amend the scheduled dates for the planned increases in the minimum level of contribution for pensions auto-enrolment, to align the increases with the beginning of the tax year.
ISO 45001 will be the first truly international standard for managing occupational health and safety. It is a set of requirements which provide organisations with a framework to build an effective management system.
Experts from around the world will meet at the end of October 2016 to finalise and agree the second draft international standard. There will be a ballot in spring 2017 following which the experts will meet again to consider any comments received. If the ballot approves the draft, users can expect to see the published standard in the second half of 2017.
Food Safety and Hygiene, England, Amendment, Regulations 2016, come into force 15 October 2016 to amend the Food Safety and Hygiene, England, Regulations 2013. The new Regulation would introduce minor changes to the specific rules on official controls for trichinella in meat.
National Minimum Wage Amendment, No 2, Regulations 2016, these regulations came into force on the 1 October 2016 amending the National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015. They increased the national minimum wage, apprenticeship rate and accommodation amount an employer must pay.
Revision of ISO 50001 Energy Management System – A draft version will be available in the fourth quarter of 2017. ISO aims to publish the final revised standard in January 2019.