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Jonathan Gardner
4th March, 2014

H&S Exemption Expected For Many Self-Employed Britons

People walking in office corridor

Many self-employed people are expected to soon be exempted from Health and Safety (H&S) rules, Freelance UK has reported.

Taking into consideration recommendations in the Löfstedt review, the Cabinet Office aims to lighten the red tape burden on self-employed Britons by freeing those in low-risk occupations from the need to comply with H&S regulations. The exemption will apply to self-employed professionals whose work activities are seen as posing no potential danger to others. The list set to be published by the government will feature occupations deemed too high-risk to merit an exemption under the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974). Construction and farming are expected to find a place on this list. A final version will emerge after a consultation, Freelance UK said.

H&S compliance will still be required from businesses and organisations employing freelancers because their obligations to self-employed people will not change. According to ministers, the exemption will go a long way towards simplifying life for self-employed Britons engaged in low-risk occupations. These people currently have to grapple with unnecessary, excessively complicated and contradictory rules, wasting time on completing risk assessment forms.

The IOSH described as “dangerous” the stipulation that exemption should apply to self-employed workers “whose activity poses no potential risk of harm to others.”

One party critical of the current plan is the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), which is unhappy with the exemption criterion. The IOSH described as “dangerous” the stipulation that exemption should apply to self-employed workers “whose activity poses no potential risk of harm to others.” This does not preclude the possibility of some self-employed people getting exemption despite being engaged in work activities that could be dangerous to others, the IOSH warned.

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