Self-employed exemptions – a recipe for confusion
As I reported earlier the Government have announced that all self-employed people will be exempt from health and safety laws unless they are on a list of prescribed occupations. This goes far further than even the original proposal, which in itself was going to be confusing and dangerous.
The government have now produced a list, and it is frightening. It excludes huge areas with self-employed people in dangerous occupations such as those working in the entertainment industry building sets, vehicle repair, haulage,people in docks, and almost all of manufacturing. Even those areas that are covered are hardly clear. Construction for instance, makes no reference to those working in people’s homes, such as plumbers, carpenters and electricians.
I went through the last three monthly fatalities figures and of the seventeen self employed deaths, six would certainly not be covered, and of the remainder it is likely that another six or seven may not be covered but it is impossible to tell on the basis of what the list says.
Of course self-employed people killing themselves is a tragedy, but that is not what this proposal is about. The HSE has never prosecuted a self-employed person who killed or injured themselves. It is the danger to others that the HSE has tried to control, not only of death but also occupational disease and injury. Under the new proposals anyone not in the list will not be able to be prosecuted if they kill or injure someone, however negligent they are. Absolutely appalling.
And even for those self-employed people who want to obey the law. Finding out if you are exempt of not will be a nightmare and simply lead to more of them having to turn to consultants.
All in all, a recipe for confusion and a license for cowboys.