Under current Health and Safety Executive (HSE) proposals, self-employed people in the United Kindgom (UK), whose work activities pose no potential risk of harm to others, are to become exempt from Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA).
Self-employed persons undertaking activities on a prescribed list however, will continue to have duties under health and safety law.
The prescribed activities listed by the HSE are those:
- that have high rates of injuries and/or fatalities, such as agriculture;
- where there is a significant risk to members of the public, for example fairground attractions;
- where there is the potential for mass fatalities, such as explosives; and
- where there is a European Union obligation to retain the general duty on self-employed persons, for example at temporary or mobile construction sites.
The HSE has now launched an eight-week online consultation, seeking the opinions the prescribed activities from the self-employed people who will continue to have obligation under health and safety law.
The consultation is due to close on 31 August 2013, and thereafter should the proposed changes receive parliamentary clearance; they will come into effect in 2015.
Commenting on the issue Sarah Wadham, HSE Inspector said:
“We are keen to hear from self-employed people who carry out these prescribed activities. Health and safety law will still apply to them and we need to ensure that legal definitions are clear and easy for them to understand.”
She added: “We also want to provide clear health and safety guidance to all self-employed workers in an accessible way. Feedback from this consultation will be invaluable in helping us do this.”
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