News 04/09/23

The Retained EU Law Act: What You Need To Know

What Is The Retained EU Law Act and How Does It Affect Scaffolders?

On June 29th, 2023, the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill received its Royal Assent, which saw it become an Act of Government. This now allows the Government to repeal, amend and replace all laws that were retained following Brexit, ensuring that they can focus on UK law taking priority.  

Since the Royal Assent, the Government has confirmed that it is committed to retaining all of the high standards in place already where necessary. This means that any legislation and regulations not listed on the revocation schedule will be kept under UK law from January 1st, 2024. You can view all of the laws that will be revoked by the end of the year here 

Some of the most critical EU laws and regulations that will be retained from January 2024 include those that relate to health and safety for workers operating within the construction sector. This includes the following: 

  • Personal Protective Equipment at Work regulation 
  • Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM)  
  • Work at Height Regulations  

These three core acts do not currently appear on the revocation schedule, so they will continue to be followed into 2024 and beyond. The list is not exhaustive, though, and the Government has confirmed that they will continue to review the Retained EU Law Act and amend it further where needed. Any sections that could be repealed will first undergo extensive consultation with the relevant sector, following the Government’s strict consultation principles.  

The Act affects scaffolders in several ways, depending on the nature and source of the retained EU law that applies to their work. Some examples are:

  • Retained EU law that regulates health and safety standards, such as the Work at Height Regulations 2005, may be subject to revocation or replacement by UK authorities, which could result in changes to the requirements or procedures for scaffolding work.
  • Retained EU law that derives from EU directives, such as the Construction Products Regulation 2011, may be subject to update or removal of burdens by UK authorities, which could affect the conformity assessment or labelling of scaffolding products.
  • Retained EU law that derives from EU regulations, such as the REACH Regulation 2006, may be subject to sunset or restate by UK authorities, which could affect the registration or authorisation of substances used in scaffolding products.  

Scaffolders can prepare for the potential changes by:

  • Keeping track of the retained EU law dashboard and report, which will provide information on the status and progress of the review and reform of retained EU law.
  • Following the guidance and advice from relevant trade associations, such as the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC), which will represent the interests and views of scaffolders in the consultation and engagement process with UK authorities.
  • Reviewing their contracts and policies to ensure they comply with any changes to retained EU law that affect their work, and seeking legal advice if necessary