March 2, 2023

Fears over construction industry safety if EU laws are scrapped

Concerns have been raised over building safety following plans for the ‘sunsetting’ of EU-era laws.

Legislation is now going through Parliament that will see thousands of laws dating from the UK’s membership of the EU automatically expire after December unless they are specifically kept or replaced.

Laws set to automatically be scrapped include the Construction Design and Management Regulations, Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, Work at Height Regulations and the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at Work Regulations.

Peer’s warning

This has led to a warning from a Liberal Democrat peer during the second-reading debate for the Retained EU Law Bill in the House of Lords.

She said that key pieces of safety legislation such as the recently implemented Building Safety Act will be undermined if the regulations on which they are based no longer exist.

Baroness Sarah Ludford said: “The unexpected consequences of kicking out the EU undergirding of UK law could be very perverse and damaging, with what is left lacking legal coherence.”

Coalition campaign

Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Building Safety Act was implemented and includes provisions such as the creation of the Building Safety Regulator and the Construction Products Regulator. It also gives the Government powers to restrict the business activities of companies that refuse to remediate building defects.

A campaign was launched earlier this year by a coalition of groups aiming to prevent the Government from scrapping health and safety laws, which they say have saved, and continue to save, lives within the construction industry.

The coalition, which includes the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, the British Safety Council and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, warned that rushing to implement the bill without clarity on the future of health and safety laws would “undermine our health and safety standards and protections”.

Need advice on construction industry law and related matters? Contact us.