Health and safety | UK Regulatory Outlook July 2023
Published on 26th Jul 2023
Fire safety responsibilities under Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 | Registration of residential high-rise buildings by October 2023 | Registration of residential high-rise buildings by October 2023
Fire safety responsibilities under Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022
The Home Office, on 3 July, issued new guidance that explains what responsible persons need to do as a result of changes made to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 through the Building Safety Act 2022. These changes come into force on 1 October 2023.
New requirements include that all responsible persons must record their completed fire risk assessment in full and must record their fire safety arrangements to demonstrate how fire safety is managed in the premises. As such, businesses should be read this guidance and understand the changes that will be coming into effect and the duties that must be complied with from October.
Registration of residential high-rise buildings by October 2023
As noted in an earlier Regulatory Outlook, all higher-risk residential buildings in England will need to have registered with the Building Safety Regulator by 1 October 2023. It is an offence if a building is occupied but not registered after this date and could lead to owners and managers of these buildings facing prosecution.
Work-related fatal injuries in Great Britain 2022/23
The Health and Safety (HSE) has published the work-related fatal injury figures for 2022/23. The key takeaways from these figures are as follows:
- 135 workers were killed in work-related accidents in 2022/23, an increase of 12 fatalities from 2021/22;
- the construction (45 fatalities) and agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors (21 fatalities) continue to account for the greatest number of workers killed in fatal accidents each year;
- the most common kind of fatal accident was falling from height;
- over the long term, the rate of fatal injury to workers showed a downward trend; though in the recent years before the coronavirus pandemic the rate had been broadly flat. The current rate is similar to pre-coronavirus levels.
These latest figures provide businesses with a timely reminder of the importance of ensuring measures are in place to protect workers from health and safety risks.
Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Draft Bill
On Friday 25 June, the UK government’s Home Affairs Select Committee completed its call for evidence. The Committee will next produce conclusions and recommendations in a report to the Home Office before the final draft of the bill is put before Parliament which we expect to be published later this year.
Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill receives Royal Assent
The controversial Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023 has been enacted. While not in the end heralding an overnight removal of vast amounts of legislation from the UK statute book – only 600 pieces of relatively inconsequential legislation will be scrapped at the end of the year – the Act significantly changes the status of retained EU law and broadens the scope of ministerial discretionary power. Our Insight looks in detail at what the Act does and what these changes mean for business. Notably, the Act as enacted means that health and safety legislation will not fall away at the end of 2023 which provides certainty for businesses.
HSE launch silica respiratory risk inspection initiative
The HSE has, as of 7 July, launched a targeted inspection initiative focusing on manufacturing businesses where materials that contain silica are used, which will include brick and tile manufacturers and foundries.
Exposure to airborne particles of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) can lead to respiratory conditions such as silicosis, and as such inspectors will be checking whether businesses have control measures in place to protect workers' respiratory health and comply with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.
The HSE has noted that where such measures are not in place, enforcement action will be taken. Businesses within this sector must ensure that necessary measures are in place to reduce the risks of workers' exposure to RCS.
Call to action
Owners and managers of higher-risk residential buildings in England should look ahead to the deadline of 1 October to register with the Building Safety Regulator and provide Key Building Information as part of that process. It will also be important to get up to speed with the latest guidance from the Home Office in preparation for the changes to fire safety responsibilities ahead of 1 October 2023.