Brexit and Health and Safety

Brexit and Health and Safety

In light of the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU) there has been great deliberation regarding potential changes to health and safety rules and regulations.

Currently there is not a clear, long term path forwards. However, the HSE has issued short term guidance which we have summarised below.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Consequential Modifications and Repeals and Revocations) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019

These regulations vaguely identify that health and safety law will remain the same until such time as an amendment, act of parliament etc. can be agreed or passed.

This does not seek to determine whether current health and safety law is suitable, but rather attempts to ensure the continuation of health and safety standards until such a time as a need for change arises.

The Health and Safety (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018

This is one in a series of industry specific Regulations that have been developed and shall be implemented upon the day of the exit.

Its purpose is to address the specific EU references found within domestic law and replace them with UK appropriate text. Wording such as ‘Member States’ and ‘The Council’ have been replace with terminologies relating to the HSE.

Amendments have been identified in some of the commonly used Regulations such as COSHH and The Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (COMAH) 2015.


The Chemicals (Health and Safety) and Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit Regulations 2019

A separate item of Regulation has been devised for Chemicals and Genetic Modifications.

This includes:

  • The EU Regulations which are to be retained after the day of the exit.
  • The changes to definitions, interpretations and meanings regarding the terminologies used.
  • The implementing of the Revocation of The Commission Regulation (EU) No 440/2010; which removes a Duty Holder’s liability for Fees made payable to The European Chemicals Agency and The Council on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures.
  • The continuation of the EU classifications of chemicals and mixtures.

There are of course many other requirements in health and safety law which have been, shall be or will need to be reviewed and amended (appropriately), however these will only be suitably understood as the day of the exit arises and passes.

For now, the Government’s and the HSE’s commitment to the continuation of health and safety standards and compliance can be calming to many, and a relief to some.