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The Self-Employed and Health and Safety
Posted by David Cant on August 10, 2012

A recent review of the Health and Safety regulations by Lofstedt recommended that the Self-employed should be exempt from the health and safety regulations. Providing the self-employed person doesn’t pose any risks to anyone else the review claimed there was no need to include them in most of the laws.  As a result of the review the Health and Safety Executive have now opened a three month consultation period.

Self Employed Health and Safety

Lofstedt was asked by the Minister of Employment to review the current regulations back in March 2011. The recommendation of removing some self-employed workers from the regulations was one of the main recommendations to arise from the review. According to Lofstedt these changes would affect around one million people who may find the regulations a burden without reaping any gain from the regulations.  Simplifying the rules and excluding some of the self-employed from some of the regulations will help to simplify the rules and fall in line with some other countries.

It has already been decided that anyone who is self-employed in any high risk industries will still need to follow laws. It’s also important that anyone who could potentially cause risks to others to still be included, as well as those who employ others to work with them. However, those who work on their own, in their own home for example may no longer be at risk of prosecution if the proposed changes in legislation go through. These proposed changes have been welcomed according to many of the comments which have been received regarding the proposal.

The Three Proposed Options

There are three proposed options in review. Option one is to exempt the self-employed who don’t pose any risks to others.  These people must fall into the preconditions which are:

  • They have to be self-employed
  • They must not employ anyone else
  • Their work duties must no pose any risks to others

This would help to simplify the regulations for the self-employed who would only have to decide if they meet the preconditions.

Option two concerns the self-employed who pose no risks to others and don’t work in a high risk sector, the preconditions for option 2 are:

  • Have to be self-employed
  • Don’t employ anyone else
  • Don’t have work activities that pose risk to others and are not working in a high     risk sectors and the proposal includes: Gas fitting and installations, nuclear installations, explosives, agriculture, construction, mining, diving, offshore activities, quarries, COMAH.

By adding the high risk sectors it is easier to reduce any misunderstanding as to what self-employed people aren’t included in the exemptions.

Option three exempts the self-employed who work in office activities who don’t pose any risks to others. The preconditions for this option are:

  • Must be  self-employed
  • Aren’t employers
  • Only perform office activities
  • Don’t pose any risks

Have Your Say

If you are self-employed and would like to share your opinions you can do so by filling in an online questionnaire available via the Health and Safety Executive website.  You can also write to the HSE, print off the questionnaire and send it through the post or send an email.  All correspondence needs to be handed in by October 28, 2012. The HSE will then take into consideration all of the responses and you may be contacted once more if they have some questions relating to your response.

If you are self-employed and are unsure of how the regulations affect you contact health and safety consultants for their advice. Many people put themselves and others at risk, and could face prosecution from the HSE if they’re not complying with the law. Call 0800 1488 677 and find out which health and safety services can help you.


Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME's favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick.

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This post has been filed in: Health and Safety at Work, Health and Safety Law, Health and Safety Services, Workplace Health and Safety

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