The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has expressed its disappointment after the House of Lords voted in favour of Government plans to deregulate areas of health and safety.
Clause 1 of the Government’s Deregulation Bill, which is currently making its way through Parliament, contains plans to make certain self-employed workers exempt from health and safety law.
IOSH opposes the clause and has raised concern that exemption could lead to confusion, lower standards and increase the risk of injury and illness at work. Other bodies have also raised similar concerns.
The Bill and its contents were debated in the House of Lords on 21st October, with Peers voting 253 to 175 in favour of keeping Clause 1 part of the Bill.
“IOSH is very disappointed that the Lords do not seem to have understood the serious problems that this misguided and unnecessary exemption would cause and have not voted for its removal,” commented Richard Jones, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at IOSH. “We will need to redouble our efforts in making the case for its removal as the Bill continues its journey through Parliament.”
The latest version of the Deregulation Bill as it stands will amend health and safety law to exempt certain self-employed from the general health and safety duty for themselves and non-employees, except if undertaking ‘prescribed activities’.
These proposals intend to rely on an extended prescribed list of high hazard or high risk sector activities – like in agriculture and construction – but will knowingly exempt many self-employed who may pose a risk to others.
This goes far beyond the Löfstedt recommendation, says IOSH, which only proposed exempting those self-employed whose ‘work activities pose no potential risk of harm to others’.
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