Health And Safety | UK Regulatory Outlook March 2024

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Osborne Clarke

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Osborne Clarke
As detailed in our January Regulatory Outlook, 6 April 2024 is the deadline for the following measures which have been introduced under the Building Safety Act 2022...
UK Real Estate and Construction
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Building Safety Act update: transition period coming to an end

As detailed in our January Regulatory Outlook, 6 April 2024 is the deadline for the following measures which have been introduced under the Building Safety Act 2022:

  • The transition period for the safety regime for the construction of (and work to existing) higher-risk buildings will end. The transition period (which allows the previous building control regime to apply) applies only where an initial notice is given to/full plans are deposited with the local authority before 1 October; and work is "sufficiently progressed" by 6 April 2024.
  • Public and private building inspectors and building control approvers will need to be registered with the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) in order to continue to operate in the building control industry (subject to transition period arrangements). As further discussed below, this will apply in both England and Wales.

However, due to delays in completing the competence assessments for those seeking to become registered at the BSR, the following amendments to the deadline have been made:

  • In England, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announced on 14 March 2024 that a competence assessment extension period of 13 weeks will be introduced for Registered Building Inspectors (RBIs) from 6 April 2024 to 6 July 2024 to enable those who meet specific criteria to continue to operate. Note however that this is not an opportunity to delay completing registration as an RBI and there will be no extension to these arrangements.
  • In Wales, the deadline has been extended for building inspectors so they will be able to carry on working between 6 April 2024 and 1 October 2024, provided that they meet certain criteria.

New Occupational Health Taskforce

The government has launched a new Occupational Health Taskforce "to improve employer awareness of the benefits of Occupational Health in the workplace" as part of its plans to tackle in-work sickness.

The taskforce will produce a voluntary occupational health framework for businesses which will include setting out minimum levels of occupational health needed to stop sickness-related job losses, and help businesses better support those returning to work after a period of ill-health.

The taskforce will aim to increase access and uptake of occupational health by increasing information and visibility for employers on occupational health and empowering them to play an active role in improving employee health.

Businesses should consider whether the voluntary framework, when published, is something they wish to implement alongside the measures they already have in place in relation to occupational health.

RIDDOR review

The government has provided an update on the implementation of recommendations coming out of the HSE's second post-implementation review of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) conducted in July 2023.

From this review, the HSE has published five recommendations.

Two recommendations that do not require legislative changes are:

  • review and revise RIDDOR guidance to ensure that reporting requirements are clear and unambiguous; and
  • revise the RIDDOR reporting form to ensure that it is clear, easy to complete and ensures reports are made in line with the reporting criteria and submitted under the correct category.

Three of the recommendations require legislative changes, which are:

  • to make the definitions more clear and unambiguous;
  • to review the list of occupational diseases with a view to expanding it to include areas where HSE regulatory intervention can add value, with potential to increase the list of occupational diseases to include pneumoconiosis (for example, silicosis), decompression illness and pulmonary barotrauma, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis; and
  • reviewing the list of reportable dangerous occurrences in Schedule 2 to ensure all necessary dangerous occurrences are captured.

Last month Paul Maynard (parliamentary under-secretary of state for work and pensions) said: " Of the five recommendations, work is already underway on the first two, regarding guidance and online reporting. HSE will start the process of reviewing the remaining recommendations [...], within the next business year"

Businesses should therefore be aware that changes to RIDDOR are forthcoming and be ready to proactively implement these changes when they are made.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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