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Article 50: "UK businesses must prioritise health, safety and compliance"

29 March 2017

Theresa May's letter to formally start the UK's departure from the EU has been delivered to European Council President Donald Tusk.

The letter, which gives official notice under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, was delivered by Tim Barrow, British Ambassador to the European Union. This will trigger the countdown before the UK leaves the EU.

Commenting on the trigger of Article 50 today, Martin Smith, CEO of, Alcumus, said: “Today we will officially begin the formal procedures to withdraw from the European Union. What happens in the coming 24 months, particularly in terms of legislative changes, is still unclear and depends on EU negotiations. However, as a leader in business compliance, I urge UK businesses to ensure health & safety stays firmly at the top of their agenda and to keep note of any legislative changes.

“Many of the current regulations and standards are set by the European Parliament and, consequently, may be under negotiation. It’s essential that all companies remain aware and compliant. Businesses, particularly SMEs, which are unable to employ a dedicated health & safety officer during these unstable times, should consider outsourcing compliance to a third party company that has strong expertise in this area.

"The consequences of not abiding to legislation can have devastating consequences for both employees and employers and, if found guilty of negligence, can be extremely costly for businesses and directors. The next few years will be a critical time for UK business and it’s essential that British companies, however large or small, have expert support to ensure they understand and prioritise health, safety and compliance.”

Julia Evans, BSRIA chief executive, added: “There has been much chaos and mixed-messages surrounding Brexit since June last year so BSRIA welcomes today’s announcement that Article 50 will be triggered. We trust that this will bring much-needed clarity and order in the ongoing Brexit debate.

"The specifics of which EU rules and regulations the UK will be able to ‘keep’ remain to be seen and are evidentially up for negotiation. What industry does need is strong leadership to bring economic confidence and stability, avoiding a disruptive cliff-edge.

"Indeed, as we move forward, we must not lose sight of the fact that it is crucial that the construction industry’s voice is heard in the Brexit deliberations. What is evident is that the ‘construction industry is open for business."