The call to oppose the REUL Bill
The UK is currently a beacon for health and safety around the world. But did you know the Government plans to abolish thousands of our current laws, causing havoc and putting lives at risk?
The Retained EU Law Bill (REUL), currently going through parliament, threatens to abolish approximately 4000 pieces of longstanding legal protections on 31 December. This would spell catastrophe for the health and safety of our families and communities and no doubt cost lives too… UNLESS we can get ministers to oppose the Bill!
How the REUL Bill will change lives in the UK and what are we
Over 300 pieces of vital legislation that apply to UK health and safety regulations which are of particularly serious concern to our national and personal safety are under threat. We want the Government commitment to a full consultation and review process to improve safety and health standards of not only the workplace but public more broadly.
The journey so far
From our incredibly important coalitions with organisations to our supporters in the House of Lords and beyond, learn about our journey to date.
Get involved and support
Find out more about our aims and how you can get involved in supporting this campaign to ensure people are kept safe.
How the REUL Bill will change lives in the UK
We’ve identified over 300 pieces of vital legislation that apply to UK health and safety regulations which are of particularly serious concern to our national and personal safety. One of the most alarming examples which will fundamentally change lives in the UK is rules on child and adult seatbelts.
Wearing a seat belt halves the chances of dying in a collision.
As the Government’s REUL Bill puts seatbelt laws at risk, we can expect usage to fall, and fatalities to increase.
Seatbelt laws are essential and must be preserved. Over 100,000 lives are at risk in the next 40 years.
CEO of RoSPA, Errol Taylor
“The UK is currently one of the best countries in terms of overall road traffic fatalities and there is no G20 country without seatbelt laws. On 1 Jan 24, we could be the first country in the G20 to lose crucial seatbelt law. The simple fact that we are having to highlight this further demonstrates the Government's plans are rushed and ill-conceived.”
What this Bill means for UK businesses - Legal confusion, increased costs, and uncertainty
The speed at which government wants to proceed with the Bill means it’s not simply the cost to life that poses a risk, but also the cost to industry. The legal confusion and uncertainty shrouding the Bill, combined with varying interpretations of the law, is set to leave businesses in the dark when it comes to compliance. It is therefore natural to draw the conclusion that the financial implications of the Bill, with potential prosecutions and settlements, stand to be astronomical. Not only this, but businesses rely on their people, so the need for you to stand up and protect your workers is now greater than ever.
What are we calling for?
Government commitment to a full consultation and review process.
We believe the Bill’s timeframe must be extended so that health and safety specialists can develop what came before, and produce improved, evidence-founded laws that will ensure that nothing relating to the intrinsic safety of Britain’s people is allowed to go up in smoke.
Focusing attention on the issue of safety specifically ahead of the detailed examination of the Bill at the Committee Stage (due to commence on 23 February), we’re adopting a dual-pronged approach:
1. Extend the Government's
commitment to safety
Asking that the Government’s commitment to: “protecting workers’ rights in matters of health and safety in the workplace” pledged by Lord Callanan, is extended to also cover the safety and health of the public more broadly, including while at home and on the road.
2. Amend the Bill
Strengthening this ask by seeking to insert the following new Clause, after Clause 3:
Health and safety impact assessments.
The Secretary of State must publish a health and safety impact assessment for each piece of EU-derived legislation, and retained direct EU legislation, at least 90 days before it is to be revoked
The journey so far
We’re not the only ones raising the alarm! - Debate on the draft law has begun.
While we acknowledge that law reform can effect positive change, this change must take an evidence-based approach. This includes liaising with key stakeholders as part of a thorough consultative process, over an appropriate amount of time. But what the Government presents, is a self-imposed arbitrary cliff-edge over which our lifesaving legislation will tumble.
Mercifully, debate on the draft law has begun. At the second reading of this controversial Bill in the House of Lords on 7 February, members discussed the main issues in the bill and drew attention to areas where they think changes will be needed.
Lord Hendy (Labour)
An English barrister and politician acknowledged as one of the country's leading experts
in UK labour law
“Most employment rights to health and safety are EU law. All a minster has to do is sit on his hands and all these vital protections, hitherto enjoyed by our 30 million workers will disappear in a puff of smoke without parliamentary scrutiny. That’s unacceptable and it also appears to be a flouting of the obligations we undertook to maintain and implement health and safety laws.”
Baroness Altmann (Conservative)
A British life peer, leading UK pensions expert, and political campaigner
“I’ve watched in horror in the last few years the stripping away of norms. The idea we should throw our laws into a big hat, pull out a few, change a few, and throw the rest away, without even knowing which, cannot be the way to run a country.”
The Baroness Jolly (Liberal Democrat)
A British life peer and President of The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
"My Lords, I start by apologising to the Committee for not speaking at Second Reading. I support Amendment 63, tabled in my name along with those of the noble Baronesses, Lady Finlay of Llandaff and Lady McIntosh of Pickering, and the noble Lord, Lord Hendy, and declare an interest as President of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, RoSPA...
We tend to think of the United Kingdom as a global beacon for safety. Over the last 50 years, legally enshrined protections have saved more than 125,000 lives and prevented more than 1 million hospitalisations. This has not happened by luck; it has happened because of our role as pioneers in evidence-based research, alongside our international partners. Many of these vital measures are in retained EU law and are on track to be repealed at the end of this year. They include, quite alarmingly, rules on child and adult seat belts—my noble friend Lady Randerson touched on this—hazardous substances and chemical safety standards, and essential product safety.
I want to put flesh on the bones, as did the noble Baroness, Lady Young of Old Scone, and take the example of toys. On average, every year, 100 dangerous toy products are prevented from being supplied in the UK by trading standards. According to data from RoSPA, should the toy safety regulations be revoked, statistics tell us that the UK will go from zero recorded deaths caused by toys to two deaths and 5,000 children being seriously injured and needing to be admitted to hospital every year, the same as we experienced before regulations were put in place in 2002. This is just one example out of hundreds of laws that protect our citizens, including children, on a daily basis, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year."
Baroness Randerson (Liberal Democrat)
Liberal Democrat Peer and Transport Spokesperson. Former AM for Cardiff Central, Welsh Government Minister and
Wales Office Minister
"There are many regulations from our 40 years of EU membership that I could have chosen because they have reduced death and injury on our roads. In Amendment 7, I focus on the 1993 regulations on the wearing of seat belts in the front seat of cars by children. These regulations were a consolidation of earlier ones that, in 1983 and 1989, had gradually enforced seat-belt wearing for children...
There are also detailed EU-derived regulations on child car seats, specifying designs by height and weight. Children are not just small adults: they are proportioned differently, their bones are not fully formed, their skeletal structure does not protect their internal organs in the same way, and their necks and heads need greater support. Child car seats reduce the chances of a child’s death in an accident by nearly half, in comparison with them wearing a regular adult seat belt.
I hope that the Minister will clarify that the Government have absolutely no intention of reducing car safety standards for children, but this example illustrates that one person’s deregulation is another’s lifesaver."
Why the Retained EU Law Bill threatens health and safety
Read about our journey so far through our press releases, all in one place.
Retained EU Law Bill Debated in Commons - Repeal of laws is "alarming", warns RoSPA
Government Must Extend 2023 Deadline for EU Law Repeal to Avoid Life-Saving Laws Falling over a Cliff Edge
Drivers should face tougher seatbelt rules
Seatbelt law anniversary marketing with call for tougher legislation
Buckle up for the end of mandatory seatbelt usage?
OSH Coalition joint statement
Leading health and safety bodies issued a call to arms to scrap the arbitrary deadlines of the EU Retained Law Bill.
Get involved and support our campaign
We don’t have time on our side.
With just a few short months until the Retained EU Law Bill is passed, we’re calling on you to step up and join our campaign to extend the 2023 cliff edge and avoid crucial laws including on seatbelts, construction, and the safety of children’s toys to be undone by default.
Ultimately our message is simple. If you care about keeping your colleagues and loved ones safe and your business free from litigation,
act before it’s too late.
To help stop health and safety from becoming history, join RoSPA’s Protect our People campaign today.
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