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HSE proposals to exempt self-employed workers from H&S Regulatory legislation

6 September 2013

In November 2011 the Löfsted Review made recommendations to reduce the amount of ‘red tape’ associated with H&S legislation. The review recommended self employed workers should be made exempt if their activities at work posed no potential risk to others. The Government endorsed this view and requested that the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) draw up proposals to give this recommendation effect. The HSE has now launched a three month consultation in relation to this recommendation. The consultation document provides three alternative options (with the HSE preferring option 2).

Option 1: Exempting from health and safety law, the self employed who pose no potential risk of harm to others

Option 1 would allow an exemption for self-employed workers if the following preconditions are met:

  1. they are self-employed
  2. they do not employ anyone
  3. when carrying out their work activities/conducting their undertaking or by the products and services created by the work activities, they must pose no potential risk of harm to others
Option 2: Exempting from health and safety law, the self employed who pose no potential risk of harm to others and who do not work in a high risk sector as prescribed by the Secretary of State

Option 2 would allow an exemption for self-employed workers if the following preconditions are met:

  1. they are self-employed
  2. they do not employ anyone
  3. when carrying out their work activities/conducting their undertaking or by the products and services created by the work activities, they must pose no potential risk of harm to others
  4. they do not work in a prescribed industry/sector/site/activity (referred to “as prescribed sectors”). These are a combination of high hazard and high risk sectors

Proposed prescribed sectors include; agricultural activities, construction, quarries, mining, diving, COMAH and sub-COMAH sites, offshore activities, nuclear installations, explosives and gas fitting and installation.

Option 3: Exempting from health and safety law, the self employed who undertake office type activities and pose no potential risk of harm to others

Option 3 would allow an exemption for self-employed workers if the following preconditions are met:

  1. they are self-employed
  2. they do not employ others
  3. their work solely consists of office-type activities
  4. when carrying out their work activities/conducting their undertaking or by the products and services created by the work activities, they must pose no potential risk of harm to others

The consultation runs from 2 August to 28 October 2012. Click here to view the consultation paper.

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