What will a Brexit Mean for Workplace Health and Safety?
The possibility of a Brexit is a very real one, and so it’s worth considering what it would mean for workplace health and safety
At Storage Equipment Experts, we take pride in our knowledge of workplace health and safety, which is why we offer both SEMA approved rack inspections and pallet racking inspections from a racking inspection expert. However, with the EU being largely responsible for shaping workplace safety in the UK, it’s worth considering what a Brexit would mean.
HSE Recommend SEMA Approved Racking Inspections…
We often tell our customers that the authority of SEMA approved racking inspectors ultimately comes from HSE. HSE recommends an expert pallet rack inspection at least once a year to ensure racking safety. They mention SEMA approved rack inspectors (SARIs) by name as an example of racking inspection experts. This decision is made by HSE alone.
Still, there are a few things to bear in mind. First, there are many EU Directives that affect UK law, and that can have an affect on HSE. And sometimes the influence of EU Directives are hard to separate from HSE’s own decision making, something which HSE itself has admitted.
The second thing to bear in mind is that SEMA and the EU have a relationship which could change if Britain were to leave the EU. The resulting split could lead to SEMA having less authority, but this is also unlikely. SEMA and HSE’s relationship has only become closer over the years, with talks of SEMA even helping to create a law which HSE will enforce. From this, it seems almost certain that HSE and SEMA’s relationship will continue whatever the results of the referendum. And so whatever the reason for HSE’s recommendation, it is highly unlikely that HSE will stop recommending SEMA approved racking inspections. After all, if something is working, and working well, why change it?
Inside the EU, or outside of it, HSE will most probably carry on recommending pallet racking inspections from racking inspection experts at least once a year.
What about Warehouse Safety and Workplace Safety as Whole?
The future of warehouse safety and workplace safety in a general sense is much less certain. As a rule, it’s fair to say that the more general the question is about the Brexit, the less certain the answer will be. As columnist David Mitchell pointed out in a recent article, “No one knows if we will be better off inside or outside the EU. The liars are those who claim to be certain.”
With regards to workplace safety, there is a lot of truth to this. To find out how safe or unsafe the EU makes the British workplace, the EU Directives that have influenced HSE decisions will have to be weighed up against the ones that HSE have decided upon themselves. That sort of comparison is next to impossible. After all, workplace tragedies rarely happen because an employer failed to follow just one protocol. Often it’s the case that a whole host of protocols were ignored.
Then there is the fact that, even if the UK were to exit the EU, HSE would not change overnight. The laws that HSE have made under the influence of EU Directives may or may not change on a case by case basis. However, what is certain is that — if the UK did leave the EU — each respective government would have more power of HSE than before. That is what lies at the heart of the EU debate in all other areas, and it doesn’t change with regards to workplace health and safety.
By this point, you will have most likely already made up your mind about the EU and your vote has already been mentally cast. If you are in favour of the EU, then that’s because you probably think that its influence on British workplace safety is generally a good thing. If you are not in favour, then that’s probably because the reverse is true. Still, whatever your political view, we at Storage Equipment Experts will not be changing as a result of the vote. Our dedication to delivering SEMA approved rack inspections will remain the same.