health and safety

Legislation called the Deregulation Bill becomes law on 1st October and will impact self-employed workers and contractors with regard to their health and safety obligations.

The existing Health and Safety at Work Act imposes a general duty on all self-employed people to protect themselves and others from risk to their safety, regardless of the type of activity the self-employed person undertakes and the risks that this creates.

The Government have changed the law so that only self-employed people who conduct certain work (or who have employees) will have a duty under H&S Laws to protect themselves and others from risk. This comes into effect on the 1st October 2015 and we look at what this means here.

The Government believe that by exempting those self-employed people from H&S duties, who work in low-risk occupations, that represent no risk to other people, they will “free around one million people from red tape without impacting on health and safety outcomes”.

The Institute of Occupational Safety and Health lobbied against the bill, because of concerns that the exemption could lead to confusion, a decline in standards and an increase in the risk of injury or illness at work. The TUC also opposed the bill, as did Unite.