Commodious | Regulation Changes, Health and Safety News 02/07/21

A weekly roundup of the most important news concerning health and safety developments, enforcements and regulatory changes.

EU adequacy decision comes through for UK

Since leaving the EU at the beginning of 2021, the UK has been in limbo when it comes to data transfers into and out of the European Union. Until now, organisations that handle personal data from the EU have been relying on temporary rulings to allow their activities to continue.

On 28 June 2021, the EU Commission adopted two adequacy decisions for the UK, allowing the free movement of personal data from the European Economic Area to the UK under the EU GDPR. The decision came just in time, with the 30 June deadline looming, and will be a relief for many organisations across both the UK and the EU.

The decisions are set to last for four years, expiring in 2025. However, the EU Commission will continue to monitor the UK’s data protection system for significant divergence from the EU GDPR, with power to intervene if the UK no longer meets the EU’s standards.

Renewal of the decisions will depend upon the position of the UK in 2025, but if no intervention happens before then it seems reasonable to presume that a renewal will follow.

Work Right campaign targets Yorkshire and Humber for COVID-19 safety 

The reopening of workplaces and easing of lockdown restrictions has triggered the Work Right campaign, which is run by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), to create dedicated resources to help keep people safe from COVID-19. 

The Work Right campaign in Yorkshire and Humber is providing accessible resources for both businesses and workers that contain guidance and support on how people can remain safe in the workplace as business sectors reopen and more employees return to work. The free resources can be found on the Work Right website and, while the campaign is based in Yorkshire and the Humber, will be useful anywhere in the UK.

Bruno Porter, Acting Head of Operations, Yorkshire and North East at the HSE said the aim of the campaign is: “to highlight the need for everyone in Yorkshire and the Humber to continue to follow the advice to stop the spread of COVID-19 as lockdown restrictions are eased.”

GB mandatory classification and labelling (GB MCL) technical reports published

A key step in the update of the GB MCL list has been reached with the publishing of the technical reports. 

Currently, the process of updating the GB MCL list is in full swing. After an initial proposal, followed by a public consultation, the publishing of technical reports marks the third step in a seven-part process. 

The reports are an independent evaluation of the information submitted during the public consultation and will set out whether there is sufficient evidence to support a new or revised GB MCL and the classification of the substance under the globally harmonised system (GHS).

While this is a big step in the GB MCL process, the classifications and labelling proposed in the report have not been agreed upon or adopted in the UK and some time remains until we will see any changes.

You can download the technical report here.


Building contractor fined after serious injury to worker’s leg

A building contractor has been fined after a worker’s leg was seriously injured, leading to amputation above the knee.

While working at a domestic property refurbishment, the worker was injured when an internal brick wall collapsed from first floor level onto the man who was working on the ground floor.

Investigation by the HSE found that the demolition of the property had not been properly planned and all practicable steps to ensure a safe system of work had not been taken. The contractor pleaded guilty to breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, was sentenced to 16 weeks imprisonment (suspended 18 months) and received a £1,500 fine.

Company and director fined over falls from height injuries

A facilities and construction management company and the director have been fined following the partial collapse of scaffolding and injury of two workers.

The scaffolding, erected to aid demolition activities, was 6 metres high and partially collapsed while workers were working on the platform. One man suffered broken ribs and tendon damage and has since developed short-term memory loss and depression following the incident. The other man suffered three broken vertebrae and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The HSE investigation found the scaffolding to be unsuitable for the type of work being carried out. It had been erected by someone not trained to do so, was higher than the recommended height and the safe working load had been exceeded.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA) and was fined £106,000. The director of the company, Simon Paul Wright of Tredegar, also pleaded guilty to breaching the HSWA and was ordered to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work.