With so much going on elsewhere in our lives, we could all be forgiven for overlooking the fact that Brexit is very much on the horizon. In fact, the transition period will end on 31 December 2020, which is just a few weeks away. There will be no extension to this deadline, even though the government is still very much in negotiation with the EU. For businesses, there is a lot to do, so it’s important to take steps to get organised now, if you haven’t already done so.
In this post we will be sharing advice from the Health and Safety executive (HSE), GOV.UK and HMRC, to help you with your business-related preparations.
Health and Safety Preparations
For business owners, nothing has changed in terms of maintaining responsibility for protecting the health and safety of everyone who is affected by the work activities of the organisation.
The HSE directs businesses to its health and safety made simple guidance for day to day advice on health and safety.
It has also published specific guidance on the post-Brexit regulation of:
On each of these pages, there is an option to subscribe to the free HSE email newsletter and notifications to receive the latest news and guidance on each topic.
Product compliance marking
One of the major changes that will take effect post-Brexit is the switch from CE marking to the new UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) mark. This will apply to workplace products, machinery, aerosol products, civil explosives and other goods.
From 1 January 2021, the new UKCA mark will start to replace CE marking for any goods being placed on the UK market. If you are an organisation involved in placing goods on the UK market, then you should be ready to use the new marking system as soon as possible. In most cases, there will be a period of grace whilst the transition takes place. This may be one or two years, depending on the nature of the goods. Some goods, however, will need to carry the UKCA mark immediately from 1 January 2021.
UK manufactured products exported to the EU after Brexit will continue to be CE marked, as the UKCA marking system will not be formally recognised outside of the UK. Different rules will apply in Northern Ireland for the various types of goods.
You can learn more about how and when you will need to start using the UKCA mark on the GOV.UK website:
There is also more guidance here on placing manufactured goods on the market in Great Britain from 1 January 2021:
Importing and exporting goods between the EU and the UK
If you are a UK-based business that trades with the EU, you should have received communications from HMRC explaining that customs declarations will need to be made to import and export goods once the UK leaves the EU, and that you will need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number to be able to submit customs declarations to move goods between Great Britain and the EU once the implementation period has ended.
If you haven’t already registered for an EORI number, you can do so here:
HMRC is advising those businesses concerned to make a decision as to how they wish to make their customs declarations, either doing it in-house, or by using a customs agent.
If you decide to use an agent, this will need to be organised as soon as possible. Further guidance on appointment a customs agent is available here:
Where to obtain further help and guidance
To help support businesses in their preparations for leaving the EU, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is hosting free webinars. These are designed to help you navigate the new rules, and understand what actions you’ll need to take.
You can choose the industry sectors and topics that are most relevant to you. Following the live webinars, recordings of the events will be available to watch on demand at your convenience.
The HSE is hosting a series of free podcasts to assist the chemicals industry in understanding how chemical products will be regulated once the UK leaves the EU.
If you import or export goods from or to the EU, these step by step guides covering how to declare goods from 1 January 2021 and setting out the import or export licences, marking and labelling requirements required should prove useful:
If you’re not sure what you need to be doing in order to prepare for life after Brexit, either from a business perspective, or personally, the government’s transition check questions will provide the guidance you need.
What about insurance post-Brexit?
Currently, because Brexit negotiations are still ongoing, we are waiting to hear how the various categories of insurance cover may be affected once we leave the EU. Please do rest assured however that, as your broker, we are committed to keeping you fully informed of any potential changes to your policies relating to Brexit, or if there might be any provisions which could invalidate or limit a claim as a result of leaving the EU.
Different types of policies will be affected in different ways, and we will be contacting all our clients personally with updates in due course. In the meantime, should you have any queries or concerns about your insurance cover post-Brexit, you are welcome to get in touch with your regular contact.