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January 27, 2014

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Cameron’s red tape crusade: self-employed ‘exempt’ from health and safety law


Prime Minister also pledges to relax rules on safe use of ladders

Poll: is Cameron’s drive to cut red tape going too far?

One million self-employed people will be completely exempt from health and safety law when the Deregulation Bill comes into force, David Cameron announced this morning.

In a speech to the Federation of Small Businesses, the Prime Minister outlined the relaxation or removal of over 3,000 regulations, which includes “needless” health and safety regulation.

“We will scrap over-zealous rules which dictate how to use a ladder at work or what no-smoking signs must look like,” he said. “We’ve changed the law so that businesses are no longer automatically liable for an accident that isn’t their fault.

“And the new Deregulation Bill will exempt one million self-employed people from health and safety law altogether.”

Richard Jones, head of policy and public affairs at the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, said that while IOSH supports the simplification of legislation and guidance, it is against lowering standards that could lead to more accidents and deaths:

“We think it would be unhelpful, unnecessary and unwise to exempt certain self-employed from health and safety law, as the Government is proposing — causing more of a hindrance than a help.

“It’s important to remember that health and safety failures in the UK cost a staggering £13.4 billion per year, double this once you take into account the cost of occupational cancers and property damage. Whereas, good health and safety saves lives, supports business and sustains the economy.”

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Peter T
Peter T
10 years ago

The self -employed will only be exempted when they are performing low risk activities in low risk industries. How will they know if they are exempt? By doing a risk assessment with the same level of detail currently required by legislation (they don’t have to record the results unless they have 5 or more employees). Am I performing a low risk activity in a low risk industry? Oh, I am. Therefore I’m exempted from performing the exact same risk assessment I’ve just completed, doh!