Plans to exempt self-employed workers from health and safety requirements are disappointing and can only lead to confusion and complications, according to specialists in environmental and safety legislation, Cedrec.
Cedrec was commenting on the draft Deregulation Bill, which aims to free thousands of businesses from red tape and make life easier for individuals and businesses.
It is the latest step in the government’s on-going drive to remove unnecessary bureaucracy, which they argue is costing British businesses millions, slowing down public services like schools and hospitals and hindering the lives of millions of individuals.
Cedrec has identified proposed changes to health and safety and highlights concerns over plans to scrap rules for self-employed in low risk occupations. These will formally exempt 800,000 people from safety regulation and claims the government will save businesses hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in compliance costs.
The move will be driven by a change to a section of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, which places the requirements on self-employed people to ensure they protect others from harm or danger in the workplace.
There has been a lot of criticism of the change, particularly from trade unions who have voiced concerns over a lack of clarity.
Cedrec’s senior legal author and auditor Neil Howe believes any change in rules could lead to confusion between contractors, ultimately placing people at unnecessary risk.
“Generally speaking, the average rate of fatal injuries at work drops year on year. The provisional HSE figures for 2012-2013 show 148 fatalities in main industry – agriculture, manufacturing, construction etc – but of those, 49 were self-employed.
“This sector has a much higher fatal injury rate than for employees, with 1.1 deaths per 100,000 compared to 0.4.
“So any plan to exempt self-employed workers from phentermine online without doctor orders their health and safety requirements is disappointing, and can only result in confusion and complications – the very things the Deregulation Bill is supposed to be removing.
“Those who do not pose a risk to others will never be subject to health and safety legislation. As it stands now, the self-employed are required by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to make sure they protect others from harm resulting from their work activities.
“It’s a requirement that is clear and works well. All self-employed are covered, so there is no confusion.
“The Health and Safety at Work Act can only be used if someone puts someone else at risk. If they injure another person through their work, then the Act will apply.
“Therefore, the proposed changes seem completely unnecessary. Any change in rules could potentially cause confusion between contractors and put self-employed workers, fellow workers and the public at risk.
Regardless of the draft Bill, everyone who is self-employed will still have to carry out a risk assessment to see if their work puts others at risk, adds Neil Howe.
“What will change is that self-employed people will be unsure if they are covered or exempt. People who clearly pose a danger to others will think they have nothing to worry about and won’t have to take safety precautions. There is also a risk of self-employed people who employ others believing that they are exempt from the law.”
Cedrec specialises in providing public and private sector organisations with help and advice in understanding, interpreting and complying with environmental and safety legislation. The company offers a range of specialist consultancy and subscriptions services. More at www.cedrec.com
Cedrec Information Systems Ltd
Business and Innovation Centre
Sunderland Enterprise Park (East)
Tel: 0191 516 6124