One of the UK’s main health and safety bodies has reiterated its opposition to Government plans to deregulate areas of health and safety.
The Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is opposed to a clause in the Government’s Deregulation Bill that exempts certain self-employed workers from health and safety law.
The clause suggests that workers will be exempt from health and safety law if they are self-employed, do not employ anyone else, that their activities pose no potential risk of harm to others, and that they do not work in a high hazard or high risk sector (to be designated ‘prescribed’) such as agriculture, construction or gas fitting and installation.
IOSH argues that this would be a backward step as this group of self-employed are not burdened by health and safety law as it stands, and the exemption could cause confusion, lower standards and increase the risk of injury and illness at work.
“Though we are in favour of streamlining and simplification, this is only where it’s helpful and does not lead to lower standards or erosion of protection,” explained Richard Jones, head of policy and public affairs at IOSH.
“As well as being unnecessary, the big concern we have is the likelihood that this clause will cause massive confusion, because self-employed people who should not be exempt may think that they are,” he added.
“We are here to help employers ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone at work and we do not want anything that will detract from that or make things worse,” he concluded.
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