Environment Health & Safety (EHS) Horizon Scanning

13th June 2019

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Health care

1. Report on gross negligence manslaughter recommendations are ‘fully accepted’

The GMC has announced that an independent review into how the laws on gross negligence manslaughter and culpable homicide are applied to the medical practice has been published. The independent review of gross negligence manslaughter and culpable homicide made 29 recommendations for the GMC and various other UK organisations that covered local, coronial, criminal and regulatory processes.

2. Whorlton Hall sparks review of CQC’s regulation of mental health facilities

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has commissioned an independent review on its practice dealing with concerns relating to the regulation of Whorlton Hall, following evidence of abuse of patients. The review will assess the regulator’s handling of the concerns raised surrounding the treatment of patients at Whorlton Hall between 2015 and 2019 and will make recommendations about how it and similar services can better be regulated.

3. Consultation aiming to improve clarity of vocational driver guidance.

The Senior Traffic Commissioner has asked professional drivers, commercial vehicle operators, legal representatives and road safety stakeholders to take part in a review of the guidance on the conduct of drivers. The subject matter of the consultation will be the existing statutory document regulating the conduct of vocational licence holders, aiming to ensure lorry, bus and coach drivers are fit to operate large vehicles. The consultation will run until 23 July 2019. See gov.uk information

4. Consultation on appropriate measures for permitted facilities that take health care waste.

For more information Click here

Rail sector

5. Rail transport, safety and technical standards—no deal Brexit guidance

Other

6. The GMB’s Annual congress has called for a naming and shaming regime and stronger penalties where people are killed or seriously injured at work. The union has also pledged to step up the campaign for changes to health and safety legislation to include a charge of ‘Corporate Murder'. For more information click here

Case law

7. Dealing with employee disciplinaries and criminal/regulatory investigations and the case of North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust v Gregg.

The Court of Appeal ruled that as a general rule, an employer can carry out disciplinary proceedings at the same time as a criminal investigation. One exception is when there is a real risk that the disciplinary process may prejudice the criminal investigation, specifically when it gives rise to a real danger of a miscarriage of justice. Such circumstances would be rare, but one example given was if disciplinary action was likely to attract the level of publicity that might reach and influence potential jurors in criminal proceedings. This might be the case with a high profile defendant or where the surrounding circumstances are reported widely in the media. Interesting article on this point can be found here

8. R (Muriel Maguire) v HM Senior Coroner for Blackpool and Fylde [2019] EWHC 1232

The touchstone for state responsibility, under Article 2 of the ECHR, was whether the circumstances of the case were such as to call a state to account. In the Maguire case such failings, concerning a 52-year-old lady (J) with Down's syndrome and learning disabilities who had died in hospital, were attributable to individual actions and did not require the state to be called to account. Accordingly, the Divisional Court, in dismissing a judicial review claim brought by J's mother, held that, on the evidence, it had been open to the defendant coroner to conclude that Article 2 had not been engaged by the circumstances of J's death. Click here for lexology article

9. Marathon Oil fined £1.16m for offshore gas leak

On Boxing Day 2015 pipework on the Brae Alpha platform catastrophically ruptured, resulting in a significant leak of methane. On 20 May 2019, at Aberdeen Sheriff Court, Marathon Oil was fined £1.16m after admitting breaches of the Offshore Installations (Prevention of Fire and Explosion, and Emergency Response) Regulations 1995 and the HSWA. No one was injured in the incident.

CONSUMER

10. The National Audit Office has produced a report focusing on the effectiveness of the current regulatory regime for ensuring food safety and standards. Link to main report

11. Implications of Brexit for UK consumer protection law remain unclear, report finds.

The House of Commons has published a briefing paper on the impact of Brexit on consumers’ rights in the UK. The briefing paper summarises the current structure of the UK consumer protection regime and EU consumer policy and provides an outline of the possible impact of Brexit for UK consumers, including in a no deal scenario. See: LNB News 31/05/2019 3

ENVIRONMENT

12. EU ETS

A draft implementing act establishing rules for adjusting the free allocation due to activity level changes during phase 4 of the EU ETS from 2021 until 2030, has been published on the Better Regulation portal for a four week stakeholder feedback period. Click here for more information.

13. MEES Regulations

update article by Squire Patton Boggs can be found here

14. Directive (EU) 2019/904 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment, has now been published in the Official Journal.

The Directive applies to single-use plastic products, to products made from oxo-degradable plastic and to fishing gear containing plastic. Lexis nexis link

15. UK to reduce net emissions to zero by 2050

The target, based on advice from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), will be implemented through a statutory instrument laid on 12 June 2019, amending the Climate Change Act 2008. When made, the statutory instrument would make the UK the first G7 country to legislate for net zero emissions.

16. New OECD reports address safety of manufactured nanomaterials (click here).

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has supported this work and the outcome has been taken into account in its ongoing activities to support the implementation of the REACH Regulation.

17. Environment Agency guidance to aid with land contamination risk management

The EA has published new guidance that will allow stakeholders to select which remediation options would be the most feasible for them when carrying out a land contamination risk management options appraisal. The remediation options applicability matrix aims to indicate the capabilities of a remediation option and also covers common methods that are available for specific contaminant-media type combinations. Click here for more information.

Environment Health & Safety (EHS) Horizon Scanning

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