Nuclear Safety Standards (Euratom/EU)

I blog posted recently about the UK Nuclear Safeguards Bill (a UK Brexit Bill). This Bill does not cover radiation health rules (which are also regulated by EU/Euratom). 

The Euratom/European Union Basic Safety Standards Directive 2013 (BSSD) sets out updated safety requirements for the nuclear and radiological sector; the deadline for transposition of these into UK law is 6 February 2018

The BSSD 2013 updates the 1996 BSSD that is included in subscribers’ Cardinal Environment OHS Register 601. It simplifies existing Euratom provisions for protection against harmful effects of ionising radiation, and consolidates those provisions in line with the latest international standards.

The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is responsible for coordinating the transposition of the Directive across Government, there are five workstreams to the Directive: emergency preparedness and response, medical exposures, public exposures, occupational exposures, and air and space crew where compliance is necessary.

The emergency response and public exposures requirements of BSSD are led by BEIS and occupational exposure requirements are led by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The intention is to use the powers in the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Energy Act 2012 to make the required legislative changes within the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations (REPPIR) 2001 and the Carriage of Dangerous Goods Regulations (CDG) 2009 and the Ionising Radiation Regulations 1999 (IRR99).

HSE has now consulted on occupational exposures policy and are finalising the proposed changes to the IRRs (this document is here); BEIS has launched a consultation on emergency preparedness and response policy with suggested changes to REPPIR & CDG (see here). BEIS is also planning to launch a consultation on the public exposures elements of the Directive.

The other workstreams are led by different Government departments, with medical exposures being led by the Department for Health and air and space crew by the Department for Transport.

Re Brexit : it is presumed these rules will be dealt with under the EU Withdrawal Bill (a key UK Brexit Bill), once it is enacted, since they are not dealt with under the Nuclear Safeguards Bill. 

Subscribers to Cardinal EHS Legislation Registers will see Email Alerts re the changes to the CDG and IRR99. 

Asbestos Protective Clothing Fine

Asbestos protective clothing safety failings has resulted in a fine for the site supervisor of a specialist asbestos contractor, after he ignored the company’s procedures on working with asbestos and broke the law.

Speaking after the hearing, the inspector from Britain’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said:

“Asbestos is responsible for thousands of deaths in the UK every year but it only becomes dangerous when it is broken up and fibres are released into the air. That’s why asbestos can only be removed by specialist contractors but, the site supervisor put workers at risk by not following the correct safety procedures. He simply should never have allowed three men to go into a contaminated area while wearing their own clothes, and without the correct protective clothing and respiratory masks. Workers, their families and anyone else who came into contact with them would have been put at risk as a result of his decision to allow the men to wear lace-up boots and the clothes they intended to go home in. Thankfully, we were able to stop the work and make sure the clothes were disposed of as contaminated waste.”

Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employee while at work to take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work.”

Here is the HSE press release on the matter.

Asbestos (Boiler Removal) Fine

Release of asbestos dust and fibres took place during work to remove industrial boilers, associated fixed pipework and a boiler house at a redundant manufacturing site. The dangerous material then remained exposed until a clean-up operation commenced two days later.

Prosecution of the owners of the derelict manufacturing site and the contractor resulted in fines for safety failings and breach of long-standing asbestos laws.

Here is the Press Release of Britain’s Health and Safety Executive (taking the enforcement action).

Update: here is the same offence at another derelict factory (this time it is removal of kiln carts from a disused pottery).