Self-employed exemption gets even scarier
A really bad idea has just got even worse. The Government is currently trying to exempt some self- employed people from the Health and Safety at Work Act.
The TUC and unions have strongly opposed this from day one. Originally it was going to be those that “pose no harm to others”. Of course this was just daft as if they posed no risk they had nothing to worry about anyway as they could only be prosecuted if they actually did harm. Then there was going to be a prescribed category for exemptions that would be prepared by the HSE and included in the Bill.
Now however there is a new version of what is being proposed which is that they will all be exempt unless they are on prescribed list. This list however is not included in the Bill and could include anyone, or no-one.
The new wording means that:
“ It shall be the duty of every self-employed person who conducts an undertaking of a prescribed description to conduct the undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practical, that he and other persons (not being his employees) who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health.”
This means that anyone who is not on a specific list, which no-one voting for the Bill will have seen, will have no responsibilities for the health and safety for others and will not be able to be prosecuted, regardless of how dangerous their actions are.
This is nothing like the original proposal, which was bad enough and has the potential to lead to a massive increase in bogus self-employed and cowboys taking risks with themselves and others. Given that the current self-employed have a fatality rate of well over double that of employed workers this can only make things worse – far worse.