The debate on the Retained EU Law Bill and trading standards will feature at The Commons today
RoSPA calls to keep people safe from accidents and injury by ensuring there’s enough time to conduct a thorough review and consultation process to maintain the UK’s position as a beacon of safety
Bill provides an ‘opportunity’ to pave the way for more effective legislation and regulations by assessing each law individually, over a greater time period – according to RoSPA
With today’s adjournment debate on the Retained EU Law Bill and trading standards set to rage on, the Royal Society of the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has reiterated its calls for a delay to the proposed implementation of the Bill at the end of this year.
Under the Bill, the Government is committed to repealing or replacing over 4,000 pieces of law taken from the UK’s previous membership of the bloc by December 2023, including compulsory seatbelt usage, workplace safety legislation, toy safety regulations, the working time directive and more.
A growing list of organisations, politicians and peers have expressed concern over rushing through the Bill, saying there is not enough time to thoroughly assess, adapt or improve each law, and if essential laws are repealed on mass this year, without proper review and consultation, many lives will be lost as a result.
Errol Taylor, Chief Executive of RoSPA, says that if managed correctly, this Bill could offer an opportunity to arrive at a successful destination, but that cannot happen if the Government sticks by its current 2023 deadline, which represents a cliff edge over which will fall essential life-saving legislation.
“At RoSPA, we’re proud to say we’re world leaders in the safety field and work with UK Government to prevent accidents and the unnecessary loss of life. Consequently, the headlong rush to abolish regulations is alarming.
“While we agree that the revision and sanitation of standards could be a positive step, we need to ensure we do this sensibly and in consultation. The Bill offers a huge opportunity for health and safety professionals to lead the way in protecting and enhancing people’s lives, and we want to be at the forefront of that.
“Ultimately, the importance lies in the preservation of the aim and intention of legislation, whether that’s protecting children, drivers or the elderly – not in how we get there.”
Some of the key laws set to be abolished, include:
- The 2011 Toys (Safety) Regulations – dictating how toys are marketed, to make clear if they might be choking hazards, contain toxic chemicals, or if there is a danger that parts may come loose
- The 1993 Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts By Children in Front Seats) Regulations – setting out limited exceptions
- The 2015 Construction (Design and Management) Regulations – to ensure proper oversight of building projects to mitigate “the risks involved”, ensure firms employ “the right people for the right job” and communicate dangers “effectively”
- The 2012 Control of Asbestos Regulations – requiring all building owners to maintain accurate registers of where there is dangerous asbestos to avoid accidental exposure
- 2011 legislation “on the provision of food information to consumers” – which sets out “requirements for food and drink labelling”, to alert shoppers to potentially deadly allergens
- The 1999 Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations – specifying what actions an employer must take.
Sir Jonathan Jones, the former head of the Government Legal Department, said leaving a needlessly short space of time to review such a large amount of legislation, was a ‘terrible way to make law.’ This has been echoed by Chris Fox, the Liberal Democrat business spokesperson in the Lords, as well as leading industry bodies like the Trades Union Congress (TUC), the Institute of Directors (IoD) and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, who say that the Bill will hinder economic growth.