Self Employed

Do you have duties?

Posted on: 01/09/2015   By: Alan Dawson

It was back in 2011 that the Loftstedt Review made recommendations to the Government that those self-employed whose work activities pose no potential risk of harm to others should be exempt from health and safety law. This recommendation was accepted by the government, so what happens next?

From 1st October 2015, if you are self-employed and your work activity poses no potential risk of harm to other workers or members of the public, then health and safety law will not apply to you. It is important that the self-employed do not think that this is a blanket exemption for them.

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What is meant by Self Employed?

“Self-employed” means that you do not work under a contract of employment and work only for yourself.

If you are 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 guidance.

The HSE estimate that health and safety law will no longer apply to 1.7 million self-employed people like novelists, journalists, graphic designers, accountants, confectioners, financial advisors and online traders etc.

What is interesting is that the HSE believe that 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.

What does the law say?

According to the new Regulations, health and safety law will apply to you if you meet these criteria:

  • If your work activity is specifically mentioned in the regulations, namely:
    • Agriculture (including Forestry)
    • Any work with Asbestos
    • Construction
    • Gas (Installation and use of)
    • Genetically modified organisms
    • Railways
  • Or if your work activity poses a risk to the health and safety of others.

The second point can be viewed as a possible grey area so what is crucial is that the self-employed need to correctly assess whether or not their undertakings pose a health and safety risk to others.

For a more detailed description of what is included the regulations click here.

If you’re not sure what category you or your company falls into or need further help and guidance then give us a call on 01908 632418 or drop us a line.

Until next time.

Alan Dawson.