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Deregulation Bill's Health and Safety Clause Remains 'Unwise'

An amended Government plan to deregulate areas of health and safety remains “unnecessary, unhelpful and unwise”, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has said.

Clause 1 of the Government’s Deregulation Bill will amend the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to exempt certain self-employed from general health and safety duties.

IOSH and a wide-range of other stakeholders have said the clause could lead to confusion, lower standards and increase the risk of injury and illness at work.

Peers have previously voted in favour of keeping Clause 1 as part of the Deregulation Bill, but in response to criticisms received, the Government tabled a proposed amendment to it during the Bill’s Third Reading in the House of Lords.

The amended clause was agreed by Peers and means that the regulations may now also seek to ensure that all those posing a risk to others are not exempted, along with those working in high hazard or high risk sector activities like agriculture and construction.

“We are relieved the Government has recognised that relying solely on its ‘prescribed list’ approach is dangerous and unworkable and has now put on record its intention to ensure that all those who may pose a risk to others are not exempted,” commented Richard Jones, head of policy and public affairs at IOSH.

“However, we remain strongly of the view that it would be far easier and clearer to leave the law as it currently stands and has stood for 40 years without a problem,” he added. “We firmly believe this exemption proposal is unnecessary, unhelpful and unwise.”

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