Influence on Health and Safety Recruitment
The decision to move forward with Brexit has the potential to evoke the greatest change to the safety and health sector since Britain joined the EU in 1973 and the implementation of the Health and Safety Act in 1974. It even has the potential to refocus regulations and reform to a greater degree than the “Six-Pack.”
With Brexit, the UK could free itself from EU regulations that have at times seemed stifling. Many of the regulations enforced today could be recategorized as voluntary standards going forward, removing the yoke of the EU directives. However, if Britain does choose to free itself from the complexity of the current regulations, it should tread wearily. It could lose consumer confidence if its attitude towards the overall health and safety profession is seen as apathetic.
Why we are unlikely to see a complete overhaul
Due to its reputation on the world stage, it is unlikely that the UK will completely decimate the standards currently in place. The UK has been heralded as a leader throughout the world due to the guidelines they have set in governing occupational safety and health. Governments throughout the Middle East, for example, have modeled their programs after the example set by the UK. However, with Brexit, the UK’s voice at the policymaking table will certainly be diminished, if not completely ignored. Overhauling existing policies would certainly expedite this possibility.
The UK understands that the current regulations serve a purpose. This government has a history of asserting proper care and prevention. A scale back on the rules that are currently in place to protect its workers would likely send the wrong message to the people.
Secondly, the costs involved with a complete system overhaul are prohibitive. To this, we look at the possible business costs to an industry that has successfully improved working conditions in all areas. Injuries and fatalities have either been steady or on the consistent decline. To replace what they have built thus far, would mean providing a new, proven and tested alternative in place of the existing, successful system.
Third, the UK would like to have a voice in the creation and implementation of safety and health standards going forward on the world stage. Because of their standing reputation, and the eagerness to continue along that path, the UK needs to show compliance and satisfaction with the status quo. There must be a harmonization between governing bodies and continued compliance with changing standards.
Additionally, if the UK wants to participate in expanding trade relationships with participating governments, it must satisfy currently existing policies. Trading across borders requires that regulatory guidelines be complimentary to one another.
The Increased Need for Safety and Health Professionals
There is too much evidence against to expect that the UK will completely overhaul its safety and health standards. Yet, there is equal evidence indicating that changes of some sort will occur. At Coyle Group, we foresee an industry shift towards leveraging safety consultancies to interpret the differences between what is introduced and what is removed, providing policy guidance and recommendations accordingly.
We strongly believe that the role of the safety and health professional will become even more important and require a larger head count with the implementation of Brexit. Overhauling, implementing, and maintaining rapport with trading nations, while keeping the existing workforce secure will be a daunting task for the teams that are in place today. There will be new interpretations to work through at home and abroad. As the UK makes changes reflecting needs at home, the EU will continue to do the same as required by their constituency. Finding a way to conform at home and across borders will require not just a larger team, but a team that is better educated and informed.
As these changes are put into place, we are excited to provide even greater value to our clients and partners through our already well-established safety recruiting and safety consulting services.