Legislation update for October 2015 and beyond

So far 2015 has seen the CDM Regulations overhaul in April, the introduction of SARAH, The Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Act 2015 and the recent changes to the fit for work service.

October will see many more changes; the largest being the exemption from health and safety law for many self-employed persons, the changes to legislation surrounding smoking  in private vehicles and the new requirements under smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations. These regulations may affect you and your business and you may need to implement changes, update your workforce and revise relevant documentation.

Key legislation changes for October 2015:

Deregulation of the self-employed

• Health and safety at work etc, general duties of self-employed persons prescribed undertakings, regulations 2015 coming into force 1 October 2015 - England, Scotland and Wales

• Deregulation, health and safety at work, general duties of self-employed persons consequential amendments, order 2015 coming into force 1 October 2015 - England, Scotland and Wales

One of the key recommendations made by Professor Löfstedt in his report “Reclaiming health and safety for all: An independent review of health and safety regulation,” was to exempt from health and safety law those self-employed people whose work activities pose no potential risk of harm to others.

Key points:

• For health and safety law purposes, ‘self-employed’ means that you do not work under a contract of employment and work only for yourself. If you’re self-employed and employ others the law will apply to you. You may be self-employed for tax purposes, but this may not be so for health and safety. This is a complex area and HMRC have produced employment status guidance.

• What is a ‘risk to the health and safety of others’? This is the likelihood of someone else being harmed or injured (eg members of the public, clients, contractors etc) as a consequence of your work activity.

Smoke free vehicles

• Smoke-free, private vehicles regulations 2015 coming into force 1 October 2015 - England and Wales

• Smoke-free premises etc Wales amendment, regulations 2015 coming into force 1 October 2015 - Wales

The regulations aim to protect children under the age of 18 from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke when travelling in private vehicles. The regulations introduce a fixed penalty notice of £50 for each offence.

What will change?

It will be an offence:

• to smoke in a private vehicle with someone under the age of 18 present

• if you are the driver, to fail to prevent smoking in a private vehicle with someone under the age of 18 present.

It will not be an offence:

• for a person under the age of 18 to smoke if they are alone in a vehicle • to smoke in motor homes or campervans when they are being used as a home

• to smoke in a convertible car with the roof completely down.

Smoke-free, vehicle operators and penalty notices amendment, regulations 2015 coming into force 1 October 2015 - England

These Regulations, made under Chapter 1 of Part 1 of, and Schedule 1 to, the Health Act 2006 contain provisions which relate to smoke-free places (premises and vehicles) in England. They amend the Smoke-free (Vehicle Operators and Penalty Notices) Regulations 2007. 

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

• Smoke and carbon monoxide alarm, England regulations 2015 coming into force 1 October 2015 - England

Under these regulations private rented sector landlords will be required from 1 October 2015 to ensure that at least one smoke alarm is installed on every storey of their rented property, and that a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room which contains a solid fuel burning appliance.

They will also require landlords to ensure that such alarms are in proper working order at the start of each new tenancy. In addition, the regulations amend the conditions which must be included in a licence under Part 2 or 3 of the Housing Act 2004 in respect of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

The requirement will be enforced by local authorities which are required to issue a remedial notice where they have reasonable grounds to believe a landlord has not complied with one or more of the requirements. The landlord must comply with the notice within 28 days. If they do not, the local authority must carry out the remedial action (where the occupier consents) to ensure the requirements in the regulations are met and can issue a civil penalty of up to £5,000.

Landlords should be aware that the regulations do not contain all the fire safety requirements which their premises may be subject to. There are fire safety requirements under other legislation which may be applicable, such as under Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Modern slavery statements

From October 2015 certain companies will have to produce annual reports on the steps that they have taken during the financial year to ensure that slavery and human trafficking are not taking place in their own business or in their supply chains.

The Modern Slavery Act applies to all organisations with a turnover of £36 million or more which are either incorporated in the UK or carry on a business in the UK.

Turban-wearing Sikhs

The exemption of turban-wearing Sikhs from wearing a safety helmet on construction sites is to be extended to all workplaces from 1 October 2015. This employment law change means that Sikhs will be able to wear a turban, and not a safety helmet, in workplaces like warehouses, factories and vehicles involved in transportation.

There are some limited cases where Sikh workers will still need to wear head protection, but these are mainly restricted to those working in emergency response or members of the armed forces.

Packaging

Packaging, essential requirements regulations 2015 coming into force 1 October 2015 - England, Northern Ireland and Wales

These Regulations implement certain articles of European Directives and set the essential requirements packaging must meet before it can be placed on the market.

Additional changes to legislation in October 2015:

• Road vehicles, registration and licensing amendment, no 2, regulations 2015 coming into force 1 October

2015 - England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

These Regulations further amend the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002 to replace the requirement for a vehicle that has been involved in an accident, to undergo a vehicle identity check before a new registration document can be issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The new process is simpler and does not require a physical check of the vehicle. The amendments also make provision for transitional arrangements to apply as the current scheme is wound down.

• Motor vehicles, variation of speed limits for naval, military and air force vehicles, England and Wales regulations 2015 coming into force 1 October 2015 - England and Wales

These regulations will increase the maximum speed from 20 miles per hour to 40 miles per hour on public roads when the driver is following the orders of a member of the Armed Forces.

• Safety of sports grounds, designation amendment, order 2015 coming into force 1 October 2015 - England and Wales

• Safety of sports grounds, designation order 2015 coming into force 1 October 2015 - Wales

• Building, Scotland amendment regulations 2014 coming into force 1 October 2015 - Scotland

November and December 2015:

Health miscellaneous provisions, act 2014 - Ireland Other changes:

Fit for work

From 8 September all employers across England and Wales became able to refer employees facing long-term sickness into the new support service, known as Fit for Work. Designed to help working people who face lengthy sickness absence return to work, Fit for Work provides the services of occupational health professionals to employed people if they have been, or are likely to be, off work for four weeks or more. The service is already open to employers in Scotland. 

ISO 45001 replacing 18001

A new ISO standard, ISO 45001, on occupational health and safety management system requirements is being produced by a Project Committee, ISO PC 283, to replace ISO 18001. The standard will be aligned with ISO 9001 (Quality Management) and ISO 14001 (Environmental Management).

The committee will meet a number of times to develop the standard further and to ensure agreement between stakeholders. The final standard is expected to be available towards the end of 2016.

Working time ruling

Time taken to travel to and from work for non-office based employees will now be considered ‘working time’, the European Court of Justice has recently ruled.

This time has not previously been considered work by many employers. It means firms – including those employing care workers, gas fitters and sales reps – may be in breach of EU working time regulations. Excluding those journeys from working time would be contrary to the objective of protecting the safety and health of workers pursued by EU law, says the ECJ.

The case concerns Spanish security system installation company Tyco, whose technicians use company vehicles to travel to appointments across Spain. The employer argued that the first journey of the day (from home to the first appointment) or the last journey of the day (from the last assignment to home) do not count as “working time”.

Instead, they regard this travel time as rest time under the Working Time Directive. The technicians brought a claim, and the Spanish courts referred the case to the ECJ to consider whether the travel time at the start and end of the day was officially working time.

The full judgement is available on the European Court of Justice.

Environment and Energy key changes end of 2015:

• Waste batteries and accumulators amendment, regulations - draft 2015 – Regulation 3 coming into force 1 October 2015 - England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

• Producer responsibility obligations, packaging waste amendment, regulations - draft 2015 - coming into force 1 October 2015 - England, Scotland and Wales

Updated ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems Released - September 2015

The International Organization for Standardization has recently published its much-anticipated updated ISO 14001 environmental management systems.

ISO says the updated standard will better support businesses as they manage growing environmental risks and take advantage of business opportunities. It will require companies to:

• Put in place measures to proactively respond to growing environmental risks.

• Ensure top management are accountable for environmental performance improvement.

• Place greater emphasis on managing environmental impacts across the value chain.

To help your staff keep ahead of the legislation click here to see Santia's range of Health and Safety training.

Source: Barbour

Post date: 29 Sep 2015

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