New Health and Safety Regulations

Date published: 27 September 2019


The Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2019

New Regulations

The Department for the Economy has, on 26 September 2019, made a Statutory Rule entitled "The Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2019" (S.R. 2019 No. 185) (REPPIR 2019).

The Regulations will come into operation on 1 November 2019 and will transpose, in part, in Northern Ireland, the emergency preparedness and response element of the Basic Safety Standards Directive (2013/59/Euratom) (the "Directive").  The Regulations relate to premises which work with ionising radiation and effect the revocation and replacement of the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001.

The remainder of the emergency preparedness and response element of the Directive is implemented by the Carriage of Dangerous Goods (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2019 (S.R 2019 No. 111), which were made on 21 May 2019.  Those Regulations amend the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010 in relation to the transport of radioactive materials in Northern Ireland by road, rail and inland waterway.

The aim of the Directive is to update and simplify existing arrangements for radiological protection by bringing five directives and an EU Commission recommendation into one directive. Much of the Directive has already been implemented into NI legislation, including by means of the Ionising Radiations Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017 and the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposures) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017 in addition to the above.

REPPIR 2019 introduce new definitions for "radiation emergency" and "emergency worker". The definition for "radiation emergency" widens the scope of the current Regulations to include quality of life, property and the environment in addition to the protection of people. This reflects the definition in the Directive and the latest International Atomic Energy Agency definition. A definition of "emergency worker" has also been included along with requirements for training.

The Regulations introduce a graded approach to planning that is site-appropriate, proportionate and flexible to the risks identified in the hazard evaluation process. As part of identifying all hazards, sites will have to consider more likely, less severe emergencies, but also less likely, more severe emergencies.  In addition to review and testing requirements similar to REPPIR 2001, these Regulations also introduce a specific requirement to take account of lessons learned, e.g. from those tests or reviews, from an emergency, or from best-practice developments.

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