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HSE PUBLISH PROPOSALS FOR SELF-EMPLOYED EXEMPTION

Regulator prefers approach which avoids ‘pitfalls’ of exempting construction 

HSE has published a Consultative Document (CD) seting out proposals for the implementation of the recommendation in Professor Löfstedt’s report to exempt from health and safety law those self-employed whose work activities pose no potential risk of harm to others.

In March 2011, Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, Minister for Employment asked Professor Ragnar Löfstedt, to conduct an independent review of health and safety regulations to identify opportunities to simplify the rules.

One of the key recommendations from this review was to exempt from health and safety law those self-employed people whose work activities pose no potential risk of harm to others

HSE open about the preferred approach 

The option preferred by HSE is to exempt from health and safety law, the self-employed who pose no potential risk of harm to others and who do not work in a high risk sector as prescribed by the Secretary of State.

The prescribed sectors proposed include: agricultural activities; construction; quarries; mining; diving; COMAH12 and sub-COMAH sites; offshore activities; nuclear installations; explosives; and gas fitting and installation.

HSE justify this option on the grounds that the:

“best way to implement Professor Löfstedt’s recommendation, and to provide clarity, is to exempt from health and safety law, the self-employed who pose no potential risk of harm to others and who do not work in a high-hazard, high-risk sector as prescribed by the Secretary of State. The prescribed list would be kept under review by HSE to ensure that it remains appropriate.

The purpose of the added qualification, which is not explicit in Löfstedt, is to recognise the pitfalls of allowing exemptions in sectors of high hazard or risk. We do not believe the potential downside of this option is significant as those who pose only an occasional risk will nevertheless need, in any case, to ensure that they are able to meet their HSWA requirements.

This option should ensure that there is no dilution of the standards of legal protection where the application of health and safety law is warranted. Moreover, HSE will continue to provide advice and guidance for all self-employed persons whether exempt or not, to use as they wish on a wide range of health and safety topics.”

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