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The impact Brexit will have on HSE.

Although there are some modifications for some industries, most regulations remain unchanged.

On the Brexit announcement, much concern and speculations were raised about whether or not health and safety in the workplace would have maintained adequate standards. During such uncertain times, rumors had Brexit altering European regulations by making them laxer. Today, we are well aware that it was not the case. At least not yet. For instance, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has repeatedly declared that business owners are still responsible for their workers’ protection. The vast majority of regulations have remained unchanged. Yet, there were some minor alterations for some industries.

As far as the chemicals industry is concerned, the 2006 European Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) has been incorporated into British Law. However, the HSE took over the European Chemicals Agency as the government agency responsible for safety regulations on chemicals. Therefore, imports and exports now need to respect the new British standards instead of European ones.

The civil explosive is equally affected by some changes. The main news is that as of 1st January 2023, the European CE marking must be replaced by the UK Conformity Assessment Mark (UKCA). Until 31st December 2023, the UKCA can be placed either on the explosive product or the accompanying documentation, but from 1st January 2024, the mark will need to be stamped directly on the product. The new marking rules will also apply to the manufacture and supply of new work equipment and machinery. With regards to goods that were already circulating on the British market before 1st January 2021, the date of implementation of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, they are still allowed to distribute until they are eventually sold to end-users.

Brexit has only brought about minor circumscribed changes to HSE so far, mainly in conformity and labeling requirements. The exit from the European Union gave the UK more jurisdiction powers, which translates into more autonomy in health and safety regulations. We cannot rule out that there will be significant divergences between European and British laws in the future, but for now, this has not occurred yet. Moreover, it seems unlikely that the country desires to downgrade its workplace standards and conditions and go backward on the path walked so far.

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