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September 30, 2015

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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:

  • Agriculture;
  • Asbestos work;
  • Construction;
  • Gas work;
  • Genetically modified organisms; and
  • Railways.

 

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 guidancelink to external website.

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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Steven
Steven
5 years ago

It makes sense that self-employed people whose work activities pose no potential risk of harm to others should be exempt from complying with the Health and Safety at Work Act. I don’t think it’s going to have any real impact on the way the self-employed operate, but I do think it sends out a positive message that H&S law should be applied with common sense and proportionality.

Peter T
Peter T
5 years ago
Reply to  Steven

H&S law has always been applied with common sense and proportionality. It’s not H & S law that drives the ridiculous “Conkers bonkers” and other “Myths of the month” that proliferate the “Elfansafetygawnmadsomethingmustbedoneaboutit” calls for unneccessary reform of H&S law. The true drivers have always been common law liability and insurance. Like the “no win no fee” ambulance chasers and frivolous claims, the system would do what it says on the tin provided those same lawyers couldn’t insure themselves against losing the case. Most of the Health and Safety reasons quoted boil down to fear of negligence/damages claims and inadequate… Read more »

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Safetylady
Safetylady
5 years ago

Well if there was no risk, what imposition was it that the law applied anyway?

The message this sends is the government has nothing better to do than remove something which was having no impact.

Confectioners????

Nigel Dupree
Nigel Dupree
5 years ago

Mmmm, what about the self-employed DSE user operators ??

Whether writers, web-designers, book keepers or accountants let alone software developers, engineers, consultants whateveerr, increasingly dependent on the range of display screens across mobile technologies employed across disciplines to collect, record, process and produce data?

Maybe dot gov has been waiting for this before they withdraw the barriers to ratifying the, now not so new, EU MSD Directive?

Eddie
Eddie
5 years ago

So if you have a self employed person who preliminary looks like they’re exempt from the health and safety at work act, if something were to happen what piece of law would be used to do any prosecution?

This is only a knee jerk half formed question.

rakhi
rakhi
5 years ago

@Roz Sanderson

This is the probability of another person being hurt or harmed (eg individuals from people in general, customers, contractual workers and so forth) as an outcome of your work movement.

regards
rakhi

Bob Wallace
Bob Wallace
5 years ago

This makes absolute sense. This is risk management and will have zero impact on self-employed personnel’s activities which present a genuine risk to others. How does DSE and MSD legislation impact a self employed person??? Who are they harming but themselves and who would be prosecuted??? Get into the real world and react to genuine OH&S issues!

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web designer salary seattle
5 years ago

Nicely, this question leads us to the following habit of profitable Net designers.

Peter T
Peter T
5 years ago

The irony of all this is that the risk assessment the law required them to do consisted of; Am I self employed? Yes Am I in a low risk industry posing no potential risk of harm to others? Yes Risk assessment completed. Net result is the same, the difference is that now there are self employed whose activities do pose a risk to others who now erroneously believe they are exempt.. Interesting poser here, a self employed manager/supervisor of say 300 self employed piece workers in a garment factory. Who owes what duty of care to these S.E. workers? I’m… Read more »

Jessica Ray
Jessica Ray
4 years ago

Great work”” “Health and Safety Legislation And Guidance” It bodes well that independently employed individuals whose work exercises represent no potential danger of mischief to others ought to be absolved from conforming to the Health and Safety at Work Act. I don’t believe it will have any genuine effect in transit the independently employed work, however I do think it conveys a positive message that H&S law ought to be connected with judgment skills and proportionality.

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kent ro service
4 years ago

Great Post !!!

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Aqua Service7799
4 years ago

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Luna
Luna
4 years ago

Self-employed workers must take care of their health first before any work.The health comes first.

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3 years ago

Such a nice post !! Thanks for sharing

Adi
Adi
3 years ago
Monika Rajput
Monika Rajput
3 years ago

Hi, Wonderful Post. Thank You.

Monika Rajput
Monika Rajput
3 years ago

Hi, Great Post.Thank You.

Anchal Rajput
Anchal Rajput
3 years ago

Great job, Thanks for sharing the excellent information////////////////