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BSIF releases industry report on BREXIT

29 October 2018

THE BRITISH Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) has published a report on the impact that BREXIT will have on the health and safety market.

The report entitled Safe, Productive and Prosperous Outside the EU was informed by a comprehensive survey of BSIF members undertaken in July and August seeking views to take on to the Government. It attempts to reaffirm the importance of the work done by the industry, pinpointing that the industry has a fundamental impact on productivity and prosperity for the country. 

Safety and avoiding work-related ill health are inextricably linked with productivity, which has been slowing in the UK since the financial crisis. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), there were 31.2m working days lost due to work-related ill health and non-fatal workplace injuries in 2016/17, and the economic cost of workplace injury and illness is around £14.9bn a year, of which £9.7bn is illness and £5.3bn is injury.

A 2011 report by the International Social Security Association found that the average return on prevention for safety and health at work was around 2.2 to one, meaning that savings are more than double the initial investment. Benefits include the prevention of disruption and wastage, a sustained focus on quality, and employee satisfaction. 

The report in its introduction goes on to reinforce the role that the UK plays internationally in safety and health and that the sector's influence is at threat. The BSIF says that while the UK is a world leader in workplace safety, there is still work to be done to improve this record and to ensure that UK industry continues to improve productivity and serve its workers to the best of its ability.

The three key recommendations that the report made are as follows:

  • Any final deal should include a mutual recognition agreement for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE);
  • Safety and health standards should be unequivocally protected after the UK leaves the European Union;
  • Responsibility for PPE standards enforcement should be moved to the Office for Product Safety and Standards and the authorities should recognise and promote the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme, and ensure that market surveillance is proactive and effective; and 
  • Vigilance and enforcement will have to significantly improve following Britain’s exit from the European Union. If we are to protect UK workers, the enforcement of PPE standards should be carried out at the border and throughout the supply chain, not just in some workplaces

You can read the report in full at www.bsif.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Safe-Productive-and-Prosperous-Outside-the-EU-Final-17th-October-2018.pdf