Regulatory Outlook

Health and safety | UK Regulatory Outlook April 2024

Published on 23rd Apr 2024

Stress awareness month | Health and Safety Executive updates RIDDOR guidance | Government invest £1.5million into innovative occupational health services

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Stress awareness month

April is stress awareness month and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has invited businesses to follow five steps to take to tackle stress in the workplace.

These are: reach out and have conversations, recognise the signs and causes of stress, respond to any identified risks, reflect on actions agreed and taken, and make it routine.

The HSE notes the six main areas that can lead to work-related stress if they are not managed properly are:  demands, control, support, relationships, role and change.

With April casting a spotlight on the issue of work-related stress, it provides businesses with a timely reminder that they should be continually ensuring that measures are in place to mitigate the risks posed by work-related stress and that it is being managed properly.

Health and Safety Executive updates RIDDOR guidance

The HSE has updated the Report of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) guidance and forms.

There have been no changes made to the legal requirements and these updates are to assist businesses with how and when to submit a RIDDOR.

The main changes to the guidance are: more direct links to guidance on types of reportable incidents to help businesses decide whether a report is required; improved guidance on who should and should not report under RIDDOR; improved guidance on what is meant by a "work-related" accident; information on when an occupational disease is not reportable; and increased clarity on when an "over-7-day" absence should be reported.

The main changes to the forms are: questions about severity of injuries have been frontloaded to help businesses quickly decide if the incident is reportable; pop-up messages now redirect notifiers if the incident is not reportable; and, guidance has been improved to make the forms easier to use.

Government invest £1.5million into innovative occupational health services

Following the announcement last month of the creation of the new Occupational Health Taskforce, the government has announced on 14 April that £1.5 million will be invested into five projects that will share the funding in a bid to improve occupational health services.

At the heart of these projects is innovation, with the funding being used to increase the use of artificial intelligence and new technology. This will allow the expansion of remote services, digital health hubs and long covid support which overall will improve occupational health services.

The announcement also outlines that the voluntary framework the taskforce is currently developing is expected to be published this summer. When published, businesses should review the framework to decide if it is something they wish to implement alongside the measures they already have in place in relation to occupational health.

Building Safety

New building control regime

From 6 April, the updated building control regime applies to all new developments after the transition period came to an end. See our previous Insight for more on the regime.

While the new rules have been introduced pursuant to the Building Safety Act, it is important to note that they relate to all buildings, not just the higher-risk buildings subject to sign-off by the Building Safety Regulator. The new rules aim to raise standards across the built environment and require increased coordination between competent and accountable duty-holders.

Relevant building works to existing higher- risk buildings and the construction of new ones are subject to a much more involved application process made to the Building Safey Regulator, whose approval is needed before any work can start.

At practical completion of works on new builds, a further application is required for certification before the building can be registered and occupied.

Failing to comply can result in enforcement proceedings and criminal sanctions. It is essential that those involved with the development and/or management of higher risk buildings are familiar with their legal duties and the requirements in place to progress works.

The old building control regime applies if plans were deposited with the local authority by 1 October 2023 and works sufficiently progressed by 6 April 2024.

Higher-risk residential Building Assessment Certificates

The Building Safety Regulator has started contacting Principal Accountable Persons to warn them that they will shortly be requesting applications for a Building Assessment Certificate.

Once requested, the response must be provided within 28 days by those involved with the management of higher-risk residential buildings (18 metres/7 storeys). Fundamental to an application is the provision of a Safety Case Report, Mandatory Occurrence Regime and Resident Engagement Strategy, all of which should be being developed/already be in place. More information can be found here.

Updated second staircases guidance

On 29 March, the government updated its guidance making it a requirement for second staircases in all new tall residential buildings over 18 metres.

The changes will take effect in England on 30 September 2026.

Projects that receive approval prior to this date and are based on the old rules must be "sufficiently progressed" within 18 months of this date. The announcement was accompanied by the publication of the government's response to the related consultation.


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* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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