Check how your business can still use chemicals once the UK leaves the EU

We hope you find our news updates useful. If you know of anyone who may benefit from reading them, please encourage them to register at the bottom-left of our news page (http://www.eljay.co.uk/news/) and we’ll email them a link each time an update is published. If in the unlikely event any difficulties are experienced whilst registering we’ll be more than happy to help and can be contacted on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, and you are a company that makes, supplies or uses chemicals, there may be changes that affect your business.

Your business may need to make changes before the UK leaves the EU. Please visit Prepare for EU Exit (https://www.gov.uk/euexit) to find more detailed guidance on policy changes relevant to your sector and to sign up for updates.

Importing and exporting

Preparing for disruption to trade at the UK-EU border

  1. Get a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-a-uk-eori-number-to-trade-within-the-eu) so you can continue to import or export goods and apply for authorisations that will make customs processes easier for you.
  2. Decide if you want to hire an import-export agent, or make the declarations yourself (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/declaring-your-goods-at-customs-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-with-no-deal)
  3. Contact the organisation that moves your goods (for example, a haulage firm) to find out what information they need to make the declarations for your goods, or if you will need to make them yourself.

Read the guidance on simplified customs procedures for trading with the EU if we leave without a deal: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/customs-procedures-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-without-a-deal

Further information is provided in HMRC’s advice for businesses trading with the EU: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/no-deal-brexit-advice-for-businesses-only-trading-with-the-eu

Preparing for changes to existing trade agreements

Check the way you currently trade with non-EU countries. When the UK leaves the EU the way you access existing favourable arrangements with these countries may change. Changes may be different for each country.

Read the guidance on changes to trading with non-EU countries that have a free trade agreement with the EU: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/existing-trade-agreements-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-without-a-deal/existing-trade-agreements-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-without-a-deal

Preparing for changes to import tariffs

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the UK would implement a temporary tariff regime. This would apply for up to 12 months while a full consultation, and review on a permanent approach, is undertaken.

Under the temporary tariff regime the majority of UK imports would be tariff-free.

In certain sectors, tariffs would be maintained to support the most sensitive agricultural industries, the automotive sector, vulnerable industries exposed to unfair global competition, and to maintain the UK government’s commitment to developing countries.

Check the temporary rates of customs duty on imports after EU Exit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-temporary-rates-of-customs-duty-on-imports-after-eu-exit

Regulation and standards

Chemical regulations

After the UK leaves the EU there will be changes to all chemical regulations, including EU REACH (the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation).

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the EU REACH regulations will be brought into UK law to create ‘UK REACH.’

Maintain your access to EU/EEA market

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you will need to transfer your registrations to an EU/EEA-based organisation or support your EU/EEA-based importers to become registrants. Read the guidance from the European Chemicals Agency (EHCA): https://echa.europa.eu/uk-withdrawal-from-the-eu

Maintain access to UK markets

If you are a business based in the UK with an EU REACH registration, your registration will be legally recognised in UK REACH. However, you will need to take action to validate your grandfathered registration.

You will need to:

  • open an account on REACH IT once it is established and provide initial information on your registration within 120 days of the UK leaving the EU
  • provide full technical information on your registration within 2 years of the UK leaving the EU

Further information is provided on the HSE website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/brexit/reach.htm

UK-based downstream user or distributor of an EU REACH registered substance

If you currently purchase a chemical substance directly from an EU/EEAsupplier, you must make sure any substances you purchase are covered by a valid UK REACH registration by someone within your supply chain. In order to remain compliant by registering as an ‘importer’, you must:

  • open an account on REACH IT and provide initial information on your registration within 180 days of the UK leaving the EU
  • provide full technical information on your registration within 2 years of the UK leaving the EU.

Read the guidance on regulating chemicals if the UK leaves the EU without a deal: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulating-chemicals-reach-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/regulating-chemicals-reach-if-theres-no-brexit-deal and the chemical regulation guidance from HSE: http://www.hse.gov.uk/brexit/reach-guidance.htm

You might also have to take some actions if you deal with:

Energy and climate

Participating in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS)

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, then the EU rules governing the EU ETS would no longer apply to the UK.

Business emissions from 1 January 2019 onwards will no longer be covered by the EU ETS, so UK businesses would no longer need to surrender allowances for these emissions at the end of each year.

However, all stationary installations currently participating in the EU ETS should continue to comply with the regulations for the monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gases. These regulations will underlie the new UK Carbon Emissions Tax.

The UK Carbon Emissions Tax will be introduced on 1 April 2019 and the reporting period for stationary operators will be 1 April 2019 to 31 December 2019. The 2019 tax will be set at £16 per tonne. Subject to state aid approval, the scheme to compensate energy-intensive industries for the indirect costs of the EU ETS would remain in place to compensate for the indirect emission costs of the new Carbon Emissions Tax.

Accounts administered by the UK in the EU ETS allowance registry and Kyoto Protocol registry will be blocked from the point of the UK leaving the EU. Operators wishing to retain access to their allowances after the withdrawal date should consider opening an account in another member state’s registry for this purpose, and should consider the amount of time this is likely to take. Clean Development Mechanism project developers with a UK Letter of Authority will also need a letter of approval from a different Designated National Authority.

Until further notice, the UK government will not issue or auction any 2019 EU ETS allowances. It remains possible for allowances to be purchased through the European Energy Exchange (EEX) auction platform (http://www.eex.com/en/), and on the secondary market. Operators should consider this when planning to meet 2018 compliance obligations. To make sure your obligations will not be affected, the government brought forward the 2018 compliance year deadlines (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/bringing-forward-eu-emissions-trading-system-2018-compliance-deadlines-in-the-uk), published on 7 March 2018. This states that you need to report your 2018 emissions by 11 March 2019, and surrender allowances for those emissions by 15 March 2019.

Carbon Emissions Tax legislation is included in the Finance Bill 2018-19.

Read the guidance on meeting climate change requirements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/meeting-climate-change-requirements-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/meeting-climate-change-requirements-if-theres-no-brexit-deal and the Carbon Emissions Tax policy paper: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carbon-emmisions-tax/carbon-emmisions-tax

Your employees

Employing EU workers

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, EU citizens who are resident in the UK before 29 March 2019 will be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families) to get settled or pre-settled status, which will mean they can continue to live, work and study in the UK.

The scheme will be open to applications from 30 March 2019 and EU workers must apply by 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

You can use the EU Settlement Scheme guidance for employers (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-employer-toolkit) to give further information to your employees.

Applying for skilled-work or unskilled-work visas

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there will be a new process for EU citizens (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/european-temporary-leave-to-remain-in-the-uk) arriving in the UK before 31 December 2020. From 1 January 2021, a new skills-based immigration system (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-uks-future-skills-based-immigration-system) will launch.

For non-EU nationals, EU Exit will not affect the application process for work visas.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

New App launched to support Construction Worker’s Mental Health

The statistics are grim, two construction workers take their own life every single working day and stress, anxiety and depression currently accounts for a fifth of all work-related illness.

A new collaboration between the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, construction software firm ‘COINS’ and ‘Building Mental Health’, aims to address this sensitive subject with a new ‘Construction Industry Helpline’ app. This free mental health app will provide vital information, advice and guidance on many wellbeing topics including stress, anxiety, depression, anger and suicidal thoughts.

Bill Hill, CEO of the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity said, “The app complements our existing 24/7 Construction Industry Helpline and is aimed at construction workers and their families. We recognise that not everyone feels comfortable talking about their feelings or personal situation, so the ‘Construction Industry Helpline’ app is aimed at people who would like to find out more information about how they can perhaps help themselves or if necessary, take the next step in seeking professional help.  It is a preventative tool and provides support at the initial stages of a situation so that the problem does not reach a life critical stage.”

Although the construction industry is rising to the challenge of creating a healthier workplace, finding the right support is not always easy. The Lighthouse Club are already helping to drive significant change through a variety of mental health and wellbeing support programmes – but realise that there is still a long way to go before the culture in construction removes the stigma about talking about mental health and wellbeing. By providing a free app, which can be downloaded by anyone in the industry, they hope to combat this. The ‘Construction Industry Helpline’ app will provide information, advice and guidance about how people can relieve the long term effects of stress, anxiety or depression as well as providing access to other areas of support such as anger management, drug and alcohol dependency, debt management, legal advice, and emergency financial aid.

COINS, who have over 35 years of developing software solutions for construction companies, are also passionate about giving something back to the industry. Their CEO, Robert Brown, added, “Collaborating with the Lighthouse Construction Industry in building this important app to help support construction workers and their families has been a privilege. It is great way for COINS to give something back to the construction industry and hope that it will be a great help to both construction workers and their families when they need it the most.”

For more information and to download the free app, click on the following link: https://www.constructionindustryhelpline.com/app.html

To view HSE guidance on mental health conditions, work and the workplace, click on the following link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/mental-health.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help

 

Your garden walls: better to be safe – local authority prosecuted after wall collapses onto child

We hope you find our news updates useful. If you know of anyone who may benefit from reading them, please encourage them to register at the bottom-left of our news page (http://www.eljay.co.uk/news/) and we’ll email them a link each time an update is published. If in the unlikely event any difficulties are experienced whilst registering we’ll be more than happy to help and can be contacted on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

Local authority prosecuted after wall collapses onto child

A local authority was sentenced last month after a brick boundary wall it part-owned collapsed and seriously injured a six-year-old girl.

Details of the Crown Court hearing reveal how, in August 2016, a wall spanning the back of two houses at a town in Essex collapsed onto the girl during a family barbecue. She was placed in an induced coma after sustaining serious and life-threatening injuries. She was in intensive care for 7 days and in hospital for 10 days in total. She has made a good recovery but still suffers some physical and emotional problems.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the local authority failed to take any action after receiving concerns about the wall’s condition from private tenants, two years prior to the incident. Wider concerns about the poor condition of brick walls in the vicinity, including council-owned walls, were not passed to building control or the Council’s inspections teams.

The local authority failed to implement a system of intelligence-led inspection, maintenance and repair, to adequately identify and remedy the risks of collapses to boundary walls, both owned solely by the Council, or jointly with private residents.

The local authority pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined of £133,333 and ordered to pay costs of £21,419.55.

Speaking after the case, an HSE inspector said: “This was a wholly avoidable incident which could easily have been fatal. If [the local authority] had properly recorded residents’ concerns about the state of the walls, then a suitably qualified individual could have been engaged to identify the level of risk and instigated the required remedial action. Despite the low frequency of wall collapses, they are high consequence events requiring those with the responsibility for structural safety to take proactive measures to ensure that boundary walls and other structures are safely maintained.”

Your garden walls: better to be safe

(Information on inspecting garden and boundary walls, published on 13 May 2013, by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government)

If you are an employer, or someone in control of premises, including landlords, the below information is relevant to you. Eljay Risk Management carries out Health and Safety Inspections of commercial and domestic premises, and we include checks of garden/boundary walls in our reports. Why not contact us for a no-obligation quote.

Garden walls

Garden and boundary walls should be inspected from time to time to see if any repairs are necessary, or whether a wall needs rebuilding. Such walls are amongst the most common forms of masonry to suffer collapse, and they are unfortunately one of the commonest causes of death by falling masonry. Your insurances may not cover you if the wall has been neglected.

Besides the general deterioration and ageing of a masonry wall over the years, walls may be affected by:

  • an increase in wind load or driving rain if a nearby wall is taken down
  • felling of nearby mature trees or planting of new trees close to the wall
  • changes leading to greater risk of damage from traffic
  • alterations, such as additions to the wall or removal of parts of the wall e.g. for a new gateway

Things to check

  1. Is the surface of the brickwork crumbling away?

If restricted to a few bricks this may not be serious but walls can be weakened by general crumbling across either face.

  1. Is the mortar pointing in good condition?

If the hard surface layer can be picked out from the joint, or if the mortar can easily be scraped out with, say, a door key, then this is a good indication that the wall may need repointing.

  1. Is there a tree near the wall?

As trees mature, there is a risk of the wall being damaged by the roots, and from wind-blown branches. Damaged sections may have to be re-built, perhaps with bridges incorporated to carry the wall over the roots. Removal of large trees can also lead to problems because the soil accumulates more moisture and expands.

  1. Is the wall upright?

Walls lean for a variety of causes, due for example to failure below ground caused by tree roots, a cracked drain, frost damage to the foundations or inadequate foundations. If your wall leans to an extent that could present a danger e.g. more than 30mm (half brick wall), 70mm (single brick wall) or 100mm (brick and a half wall) it is recommended that expert advice is sought. This may involve checking of the wall foundations.

  1. Is the wall thick enough for its height?

The map and table at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/your-garden-walls-better-to-be-safe give guidance on how high walls should be in different parts of the UK relative to their thickness. Seek expert advice if your wall exceeds the recommended height, or in circumstances whereby this guidance is inapplicable e.g. walls incorporating piers, or walls supporting heavy gates or retaining soil.

  1. Some climbing plants, like ivy, can damage walls if growth is unchecked.

Consider cutting them back and supporting regrowth clear of the wall.

  1. Is the top of the wall firmly attached?

Brick cappings or concrete copings may be loose or there may be horizontal cracks (frost damage) in the brickwork a few courses down. Loose or damaged masonry near the top of the wall will need to be rebuilt.

  1. Has the wall been damaged by traffic?

Minor scratch marks or scoring of the surface may obscure more significant cracks. Piers at vehicular entrances may have been dislodged by impact and be unsafe; in such cases they should be rebuilt.

  1. Are there any cracks in the wall?

Hairline cracks (0-2mm across) are common in walls and may not indicate serious problems. For wider cracks seek expert advice; some may indicate a need for partial or complete rebuilding. Seek advice on any horizontal cracks which pass right through a wall or any cracks close to piers or gates. Repointing of cracks can lead to problems. Do not repoint without establishing the cause of the cracking.

If you have any queries at all regarding the above, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07896 016380 or at fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.