Self-employed law changes – 1st October 2015
Health and safety law will no longer apply to 1.7 million self-employed people tomorrow, following a recommendation from Professor Löfstedt in his review of health and safety law in the UK.
In 2011, the Löfstedt Review recommended that self-employed people whose work activities pose no potential risk of harm to others should be exempt from health and safety law.
The Government accepted this recommendation and from Thursday 1 October health and safety law will no longer apply to the 1.7 million self-employed people including novelists, journalists, accountants, confectioners and more.
Who is exempt?
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (General Duties of Self-Employed Persons) (Prescribed Undertakings) Regulations 2015 sets out a list of work activities that the law still applies to. This includes:
- Asbestos work;
- Gas work;
- Genetically modified organisms; and
For health and safety law purposes, ‘self-employed’ means that you do not work under a contract of employment and work only for yourself.
If you’re self-employed and employ others the law will apply to you. You may be self-employed for tax purposes, but this may not be so for health and safety. This is a complex area and HMRC have produced employment status guidance.
What is a ‘risk to the health and safety of others’?
This is the likelihood of someone else being harmed or injured (eg members of the public, clients, contractors etc) as a consequence of your work activity.
Most self-employed people will know if their work poses a risk to the health and safety of others. You must consider the work you are doing and judge for yourself if it creates a risk or not.
For example if you operate a fairground ride for the public to use then your work could affect the health and safety of other people and you must take appropriate steps to protect them as the law will apply to you.
Find out more about ‘risk’
The HSE guidance on risk management explains more about the risks your work activity may create and how best to manage these.
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