The UK has left the European Union at the time of writing and the following is my understanding of how this will affect electrical safety regulations and law. Regardless of final trading relationships, the HSE have provided guidance that the ultimate aims of protecting people at work will not change regardless of the outcome. The main role of the EU health and safety legislation has been to harmonise legal standards and to remove barriers to trade among member nations. Within the UK and EU, health and safety legislation is based upon risk assessment which is unlikely to change in the near future. None of the UK legislation listed above will change but clearly the EU directives will not apply directly. However, to ensure the continued stability of the European standardization system and to give confidence to European business and consumers, CEN and CENELEC Members have agreed, to extend the current transition period for their UK Member, BSI, until 31 December 2021.
In fact, very few of the existing health and safety regulations are to be amended as a direct result of Brexit. I have however, created a table, Figure 16.1 below, which may help to identify electrical safety related legislation and equivalents within the European Directives. To read more about amended regulations, please visit the HSE Website.
The primary legislation in the Great Britain continues to be the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and similar legislation in Northern Ireland, the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 is an enabling act which means that secondary legislation or regulations can be passed such as the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. It sets out the general duties which: employers have towards employees and members of the public; employees have to themselves and to each other and certain self-employed individuals have towards themselves and others.
|Similar Legislation across the EU, Ireland and UK|
|European Council Directive||Republic of Ireland Legislation||Great Britain and Northern Ireland Legislation|
|89/391/EEC Workplace Health and Safety Directive (Framework Directive).||Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005.||Management of Health and
Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000.
|Electricity at Work - No Specific Directive.||Safety Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 Part 3 – Electricity.||Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.
Electricity at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1991.
|EU Council Directive 1989/656/EEC Use of Personal Protective Equipment.||Safety Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 Part 2 WORKPLACE AND WORK EQUIPMENT Chapter 3 - Personal Protective Equipment.||Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.
Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1993.
|EU Council Directive 2009/104/EC Use of Work Equipment.||Safety Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 PART 2 WORKPLACE AND WORK EQUIPMENT Chapter 2 - Use of Work Equipment.||Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999).
Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
|EU Council Directive 1992/58/EEC Safety and/or Health Signs.||Safety Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 PART 7 SAFETY SIGNS AND FIRST AID and Chapter 1 - Safety Signs at Places of Work.||Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996.
Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996.
16.6 The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is the world’s leading organization that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies. Individuals like myself participate in the IEC's work through National Committees (NCs) and there can only be one per country. Many of the standards that are listed as IEC in the following table. They are extremely comprehensive and are the result of years of work from experts. IEC cooperates with CENELEC which is the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization and is responsible for standardization in the electrotechnical engineering field. CENELEC prepares voluntary standards, which help facilitate trade between countries, create new markets, cut compliance costs and support the development of a single European market.
16.7 Directory of Useful Legislation and StandardsThe following table gives various standards that may assist with various parts of this guide. This includes standards that are not quoted directly in the guide but may assist the reader in locating information in order to apply some of the principles. For instance, the data collection section relates to electrical relays, current transformers, cables, busbars, switchgear etc, all of which have standards listed on the next page in Figure 16.2.