Brexit: what happens next?
Published: 24 Jan 2020

The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020 at 11pm. Given that much of the legislation in the UK is either EU law that is directly applicable or UK domestic laws influenced by EU Directives, it is important to keep up-to-date about what might happen with the legislation after we leave the EU.

What happens with legislation after 31 January?

In short, nothing. Not yet anyway. The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 introduces an implementation period that will last until 11pm on 31 December 2020.

The implementation period is designed to give the UK time to reach a deal with the EU. During that period, the UK will continue as if it was a member of the EU, only UK representatives won't sit in the European Parliament.

This means that until 11pm on 31 December 2020, all EU legislation will continue to apply to the UK, including anything new that the EU publishes during that implementation period.

However, it is still recommended that companies prepare for a potential no-deal scenario and to evaluate how it may impact them.

What happens after 31 December?

Unfortunately, nobody knows yet what will happen. It depends entirely on the contents of any deal the UK manages to agree with the EU.

We'll be keeping a close eye on the situation and will provide applicable updates as soon as we have them.

What if a deal is not agreed on time?

If no deal is made, then a few things could happen with legislation in the UK:

  • all EU laws currently applicable to the UK will be adopted into the UK statute books as "retained" laws. The EU law will be retained exactly how it was immediately before the end of the implementation period;
  • the EU legislation and some UK legislation will have to be amended to remove references to the EU and EU regulatory bodies. If there is no deal, and our legislation, including retained laws, contain references to the EU it won't work correctly which could cause an issue. As such, there will be several amendments to legislation but very few fundamental changes are predicted.

As an extension to the implementation period has been ruled out, 31 December 2020 is the definite deadline for any deal to be made and for clarification about how the legislation will work in a post-EU UK.

However, as has been the case since the referendum back in 2016, it'll be a case of "watch this space".

Will anything change on Cedrec?

For the time being, no. All of the EU legislation on Cedrec is fully consolidated, and EU amendments published before 1 January 2021 will continue to be applied so that subscribers can be assured they have access to the legislation as it stands. New EU laws published before the end of the implementation period will also be added to Cedrec.

Those who have taken advantage of our register of legislation update service will continue to be updated on any changes to applicable laws. In terms of the registers themselves, nothing will change for the time being.

EU Exit Legislation

The UK Government have continued to publish EU Exit legislation that amends and corrects deficiencies in both UK legislation and EU legislation that will be retained in the UK.

These aim to ensure that legislation continues to operate effectively after the UK's transition period with the European Union ends. 

Initially much of this legislation was due to come into force on "exit day", 31 January 2020. However due to the UK being in a transition or implementation period with the EU until 31 December 2020, then the coming into force of this legislation has been delayed by the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, to coincide with the end of this period.

This means that those pieces of legislation will instead come into force when the implementation phase is complete, or as legislation refers to it, on "IP completion day".

On Cedrec you may see that some legislation has pending amendments in the "Revocations and amendments" list that state the legislation will be amended by something on "IP completion day". For example:

"Revocations and amendments

These Regulations have been amended by the:

  • Environment (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment etc.) (No. 2) Regulations SSI 2019/436, on IP completion day."

This just means that the legislation will be amended by that EU Exit legislation, but not until IP completion day, which is currently 31 December 2020.

The first batch of proposed legislation for the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee to consider have been published.

These proposed Statutory Instruments (SIs) are part of a series of proposed legislative changes that will be necessary for when the Brexit Implementation Period ends. Prior to being implemented into law, these SIs will pass through the newly established Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committees. Each House will have its own designated Committees.

The Committees will be taking up the role of "sifting" through proposed negative instruments following the passing of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 gives Ministers wide powers to make Regulations to deal with the deficiencies in retained EU law which will result from the UK's withdrawal from the EU. It allows them a choice of procedure and most Regulations will first be laid as "proposed negative instruments", which after a "sifting" process, will be laid as SIs.

The process

How the process will work:

  • Ministers will propose negative instruments for consideration;
  • the Committees will have 10 days, starting the day after the proposed negative instrument is laid to scrutinise the proposed legislation and make their recommendations;
  • if either Committee recommends a proposed negative instrument should be upgraded to an affirmative procedure, the Minister may either accept or reject the recommendation, and if rejected give a written statement explaining why;
  • any instruments recommended for upgrade will be listed online.

What are negative instruments?

Negative instruments are made by a Minister before they are laid before Parliament, and they come into force generally 21 days after being laid.

To prevent a negative instrument coming into force or remaining in force, a motion to annul it has to be agreed by the Parliament in the Chamber no later than 40 days after the instrument was laid. If no such motion is made, the instrument automatically becomes law.

This process is different to the affirmative procedure where an instrument will usually first be presented in draft format and will not come into force until it has been approve by Parliament.

The current proposed negative statutory instruments relevant to health, safety and environmental legislation are the:

Published statutory instruments

As time goes on, the negative instruments will be laid before Parliament and then passed into law. The following list shows the confirmed statutory instruments that will come into force on exit day:

  • Vehicle Drivers (Certificates of Professional Competence) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1004;
  • Timber and Timber Products and FLEGT (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1025;
  • Seal Products (Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1034;
  • Feed-in Tariffs and Contracts for Difference (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1092;
  • Electricity (Guarantees of Origin of Electricity Produced from Renewable Energy Sources) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1093;
  • Merchant Shipping (Monitoring, Reporting and Verification of Carbon Dioxide Emissions) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1388;
  • Animal By-Products and Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (England) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1120;
  • Rail Passengers’ Rights and Obligations (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/1165;
  • Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health and Safety at Work) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1202;
  • Merchant Shipping (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendments etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1221;
  • Environmental Assessments and Miscellaneous Planning (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1232;
  • Planning (Hazardous Substances and Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1234;
  • Planning (Environmental Assessments and Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) (Northern Ireland) Regulations SI 2018/1235;
  • Ionising Radiation (Basic Safety Standards) (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1278;
  • Electricity and Gas (Powers to Make Subordinate Legislation) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1286;
  • Pipe-lines, Petroleum, Electricity Works and Oil Stocking (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1325;
  • CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1336;
  • INSPIRE (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1338;
  • Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1342;
  • Health and Safety (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1370;
  • Health and Safety (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1377;
  • Marine Environment (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1399;
  • Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) and the Railways (Accident Investigation and Reporting) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1400;
  • Persistent Organic Pollutants (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1405;
  • Air Quality (Miscellaneous Amendment and Revocation of Retained Direct EU Legislation) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1407;
  • Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1408;
  • Aquatic Animal Health and Alien Species in Aquaculture (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/9;
  • Fisheries (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/24;
  • Ionising Radiation (Environmental and Public Protection) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/24;
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/25;
  • Environment (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment etc.) Regulations SSI 2019/26;
  • Drainage (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/31;
  • Water and Floods (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/32;
  • Renewables Obligation (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/35;
  • Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/39;
  • Marine Environment (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/55;
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/57;
  • Air Quality (Amendment of Domestic Regulations) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/74;
  • Town and Country Planning and Electricity Works (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations SSI 2019/80;
  • Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/84;
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (Amendment) (England) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/88;
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/90;
  • Animal By-Products and Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/94;
  • Control of Mercury (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/96;
  • INSPIRE (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/103;
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/107;
  • Pesticides (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/118;
  • Water (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/112;
  • Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/113;
  • Radioactive Contaminated Land (Modification of Enactments) (Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/114;
  • Marketing of Seeds and Plant Propagating Material (Amendment) (England and Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/131;
  • Export Control (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/137;
  • Transfrontier Shipment of Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/156;
  • Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies and Animal By-Products (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/170;
  • Waste (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations SI 2019/188;
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/190;
  • Nuclear Safeguards (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/196;
  • Metrology, Health and Safety and Product Safety (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/202;
  • Invasive Non-native Species (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/223;
  • Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) (Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/244;
  • Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes and the Environmental Impact Assessment (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/245;
  • Environmental Noise (Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/247;
  • Merchant Shipping (Recognised Organisations) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/270;
  • Waste (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/271;
  • Animal By-Products and Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/273;
  • Management of Extractive Waste (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations SSI 2019/273;
  • Environmental Liability etc. (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/276;
  • Ship Recycling (Facilities and Requirements for Hazardous Materials on Ships) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/277;
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations SI 2019/279;
  • Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases and Ozone-Depleting Substances (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/281;
  • Environmental Protection (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/289;
  • Pesticides and Fertilisers (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/306;
  • Merchant Shipping and Other Transport (Environmental Protection) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/311;
  • Railways (Interoperability) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/345;
  • Fisheries and Marine Management (Amendment) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/370;
  • Roads (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/377;
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release and Transboundary Movement) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/379;
  • Air Quality Standards (Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/390;
  • Waste (Wales) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/414;
  • Aquatic Animal Health and Alien Species in Aquaculture (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/451;
  • Aquatic Animal Health and Alien Species in Aquaculture (Amendment) (England and Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/452;
  • Drivers’ Hours and Tachographs (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/453;
  • Town and Country Planning (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/456;
  • Environment (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/458;
  • Flood and Water (Amendments) (England and Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/460;
  • Construction Products (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/465;
  • Merchant Shipping (Marine Equipment) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/470;
  • Environment and Wildlife (Legislative Functions) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/473;
  • Road Vehicles and Non-Road Mobile Machinery (Type-Approval) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/490;
  • Railways (Access, Management and Licensing of Railway Undertakings) (Amendments etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/518;
  • Electricity and Gas etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/530;
  • Gas (Security of Supply and Network Codes) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/531;
  • Electricity Network Codes and Guidelines (Markets and Trading) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/532;
  • Electricity Network Codes and Guidelines (System Operation and Connection) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/533;
  • Electricity and Gas (Market Integrity and Transparency) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/534;
  • Employment Rights (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/535;
  • Employment Rights (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/537;
  • Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products and Energy Information (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/539;
  • Storage of Carbon Dioxide (Amendment and Power to Modify) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/544;
  • Road Vehicle Emission Performance Standards (Cars and Vans) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/550;
  • Pesticides (Maximum Residue Levels) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/557;
  • Environment (Miscellaneous Amendments and Revocations) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/559;
  • Floods and Water (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/558;
  • Shipments of Radioactive Substances (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/571;
  • Conservation of Habitats and Species (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/579;
  • Aquatic Animal Health and Alien Species in Aquaculture (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/581;
  • Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/582;
  • Ozone-Depleting Substances and Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/583;
  • Environment (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/584;
  • International Waste Shipments (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/590;
  • Drivers’ Hours and Tachographs (Amendment) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations SI 2019/596;
  • Fertilisers and Ammonium Nitrate Material (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/601;
  • Waste (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/620;
  • European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Consequential Modifications and Repeals and Revocations) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/628;
  • Merchant Shipping (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/630;
  • Aviation Noise (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/643;
  • Road Vehicles and Non-Road Mobile Machinery (Type-Approval) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/648;
  • Detergents (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/672;
  • Product Safety and Metrology etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/696;
  • Railway (Licensing of Railway Undertakings) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/700;
  • Licensing of Operators and International Road Haulage (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/708;
  • Common Agricultural Policy and Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/733;
  • REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/758;
  • Animal Health, Seed Potatoes and Food (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/962;
  • Aviation Safety (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations SI 2019/1098;
  • Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/1101;
  • Electricity Network Codes and Guidelines (System Operation and Connection) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations SI 2019/1104;
  • REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) (No. 3) Regulations SI 2019/1144;
  • Animal Health, Invasive Alien Species, Plant Breeders’ Rights and Seeds (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/1220;
  • Animal Health and Genetically Modified Organisms (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/1229;
  • Railways (Safety, Access, Management and Interoperability) (Miscellaneous Amendments and Transitional Provision) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/1310.

We will keep this page updated with all the latest developments and proposed negative statutory instruments so you can keep track of any upcoming changes.

In 2018, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs consulted on the cleaner domestic burning of solid fuels and wood in England. The proposals in that consultation included:

  • restrictions on the sale of wet wood for domestic burning;
  • phasing out the sale of traditional house coal; and
  • applying sulphur standards and smoke emission limits to all manufactured solid fuels.

Burning fuel in domestic wood stoves and coal fires make up the single largest contributor to the UK's national emissions of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5). The tiny particles in smoke can enter the bloodstream and affect the internal organs, causing long term health issues as well as having immediate impacts on some people, such as causing breathing difficulties or asthma attacks.

Ban on coal

The government proposes a ban (which will apply from 21 February 2021, with a year to use up leftover stocks) for all pre-packaged traditional bituminous house coal (i.e. that is sold through retailers, supermarkets and DIY stores). That ban will also apply to loose sales direct to customers via coal merchants from February 2023, which will give residents extra two years to transition to other types of fuels.

The exemption to this policy will apply to the Forest of Dean freeminers, who will be allowed to sell coal because of the volume involved, the unique nature of this tradition and reliance on local domestic sales.

Ban on wood

The government proposes that wood sold in single units under 2m3 (loose stacked) must have a moisture content of 20% or less. Wet wood sold over these volumes will be required to come with advice on how to dry it, and retailers will be required to store wood appropriately to keep it dry. This will come into effect on 21 February 2021, with small foresters being given an extra year to come into compliance.

These proposals are designed to apply to net bags of logs sold by retailers for immediate use, and occasional stove users who buy small volumes of wood for convenience are not unwittingly burning wet logs that produce high levels of smoke.

Manufactured solid fuels

For manufactured solid fuels, the government proposes to introduce a nationwide requirement (which currently applies in Smoke Control Areas only) which requires a certified controlled sulphur content (maximum 2%), and smoke emission limit, which will be effective from 21 February 2021.

Wessex Water offered to pay an enforcement undertaking of £35,000 towards environmental improvements at Stoborough Heath nature reserve after a sewer main burst in January 2018, which polluted a surface water ditch.

Stoborough Heath is a National Nature Reserve owned and managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and Natural England. The reserve has numerous water-filled ditches rich in plant and animal life.

The pollution had a severe impact on aquatic invertebrates over a distance of approximately 100 metres, deteriorating water quality. This was shown from raised levels of ammonia and sewage fungus in the ditch. There was no impact on the main watercourse.

Wessex Water reported the incident and later admitted an unauthorised discharge of sewage to surface water ditch contrary to the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations SI 2016/1154.

Wessex Water has since spent £50,000, installing a burst detection system along the rising main that caused the pollution in 2018.

Janine Maclean of the Environment Agency discussed the enforcement undertaking and commented that the burst rising main at Stoborough had a clear and significant impact on Stoborough Heath.

"The £35,000 enforcement undertaking has ensured local charities and projects benefit and will be spent on improving the local environment.

"The burst detection system installed by Wessex Water will ensure any future bursts will be detected earlier and prevent significant damage should a similar incident occur in the future".

An enforcement undertaking is a civil sanction used in less serious cases where it is not in the public interest to prosecute. They are used to:

  • change behaviour;
  • ensure future compliance;
  • put right any environmental harm;
  • benefit those impacted;
  • improve the environment.

The Environment Agency accepted Wessex Water's offer of £25,000 to the RSPB. The money will be spent on ditch and wetland habitat restoration at Lytchett Fields, and heathland management at the RSPB's nearby Arne reserve.

The company also offered £10,000 to Dorset Wildlife Trust as a contribution towards environmental improvements as part of the Poole Harbour Catchment Partnership Project. Wessex Water also carried out further actions to benefit an impacted third party.

It was agreed to pay the Environment Agency its legal costs of £2,497.30.

A car retailer based in the South East of England has been fined after a car bodywork sprayer developed occupational asthma.

West Hampshire Magistrates' Court heard that in October 2011 and March 2018, an employee of Harwoods Limited at Audi Southampton, had been spraying, using paints that contained isocyanates without adequate control measures in place. Isocyanates are classed as substances hazardous to health, exposure to which can lead to the development of asthma which can have serious life-changing effects.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had failed to ensure adequate control measures were in place to minimise exposure to paints containing isocyanates, therefore exposing the employees to the risk of asthma.

Harwoods Limited pleaded guilty to breaching the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations SI 2002/2677 (COSHH), were fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,657.55.

HSE inspector Nicola Pinckney commented: "This serious health condition could so easily have been avoided by simply implementing correct control measures and appropriate working practices".

"Controlling employee exposure to hazardous substances is a legal requirement on employers and HSE provides guidance on how control can be achieved".

"Appropriate controls could include use of a spray booth to carry out the paint spraying, use of a suitable air-fed respirator, checks to ensure equipment was adequately maintained and training provided to ensure the employee knew the risks and how to control them".

A self-employed gas fitter has been jailed following unsafe work on gas appliances while unregistered.

In November 2014 the gas fitter was handed a Prohibition Notice by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which banned him from carrying out any gas work unless he gained the necessary competence and registered with the Gas Safe Register.

Following an investigation by the HSE, it was found that between 2 March 2018 and 22 March 2019, the gas fitter carried out work on gas appliances at seven addresses across England, and in one occasion he used a false name. His unsafe work was even featured on the BBC Watchdog programme.

The inspection found several defects on each gas appliance that the man worked on, including incomplete and defective flue joints, flues not sealed to the building structures, and dangerous decommissioning of a back boiler, all of which put the safety of the homeowners and their families at risk.

On sentencing, the gas fitter pleaded guilty to several offences under the Health and Safety At Work etc. Act 1974 and Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations SI 1998/2451.

Whilst on bail awaiting sentence he carried out more gas work whilst unregistered and subsequently pleaded guilty to two additional offences under the same legislation. He was jailed for 16 months.

Speaking following the hearing, HSE inspector Anthony Banks said that the gas fitter "knowingly defrauded homeowners and purposely misled them into thinking he was registered with Gas Safe Register".

He had "been warned on national television that he was breaking the law. The work he did was unsafe and he put several families at risk. It is only a matter of chance that no one was seriously harmed".

"All gas work must be done by registered Gas Safe engineers to ensure the highest standards are met to prevent injury and loss of life. The public should always ask to see the gas engineer's identification and check the registration number online or ring the Gas Safe Register customer helpline".

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