Regulatory Outlook

Health and safety | UK Regulatory Outlook May 2024

Published on 31st May 2024

General election impact on the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill | HSE publish strategic approach to AI | Mental Health Awareness Week 

General election impact on the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill

The upcoming general election on 4 July means the dissolution of Parliament on 30 May. As a result, any legislation that was not passed during the recent wash-up period will no longer be considered. It remains uncertain whether the newly elected government will reintroduce these bills, as they are not obligated to do so.

One of the bills affected by this is the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, which had not yet been introduced in Parliament and has now fallen away. The decision to continue with this legislation lies with the newly-elected government, and there is a possibility that it may choose not to pursue it.

Considering the significant support behind this legislation, commonly referred to as "Martyn's law" and developed in response to the Manchester bombings, it provides some hope that it might come back on the next government's agenda. Labour has been supportive of the Bill and recent media reports illustrate that the party want to get this onto the statute book as soon as possible so if they elected, it seems likely that they will take it up again. Furthermore, the recently concluded consultation in March on the standard tiers could provide valuable insights for the new government to make amendments to the draft legislation. However, at present, we must wait and see what actions the new government will take.

For more on the wash-up period, read our Insight.

HSE publish strategic approach to AI

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published its strategic approach to AI which outlines that the use of AI comes within the scope of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and so the principles of health and safety law need to be taken into account when using AI.

In assessing and managing risk, the regulator expects businesses to undertake a risk assessment for uses of AI which impact on health and safety and ensure measures are in place to reduce risks so far as reasonably practicable.

The HSE goes on to set out how it is developing its regulatory approach to AI which is as follows:

  • Coordinating AI work internally through an AI common interest group.
  • Collaborating with government departments to shape AI regulation.
  • Engaging with international standards organisations to establish benchmarks for AI interaction with machinery and functional safety.
  • Establishing relationships with industry and academic stakeholders to share knowledge on AI use cases and impact on health and safety.
  • Collaborating with other regulators to encourage a consistent regulatory approach.
  • Identifying AI developments through horizon scanning and monitoring activities.
  • Building AI capability and experience across specialist areas of HSE.
  • Supporting research bids aligned with HSE's research interests to develop safe use and regulation of AI.
  • Setting up and trialling an Industrial Safety tech Regulatory Sandbox to explore barriers to adoption in construction.

Those businesses that may be starting to incorporate AI should ensure they have taken into the account the risks this may have on health and safety and that necessary measures are in place to mitigate these risks. See also the Artificial intelligence section.

Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week was on 13 to 19 May. In light of this, the HSE reminded businesses of its Working Minds campaign which raises awareness of how to promote good mental health at work. As another spotlight on mental health, after stress awareness month last month, it gives businesses another important reminder to ensure mental health is managed properly within the workplace.

Building completion certificates

The HSE and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities have published guidance on how to apply for a completion or partial completion certificate for higher-risk building work or building work to an existing higher-risk building (HRB).

Building completion certificates need to be submitted in order to register an HRB which must be done before residents occupy the building.


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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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