Don’t put yourself at risk when instructing a self-employed contractor.

As part of the Deregulation Bill, the government plans to scrap rules for self-employed in low risk occupations.  These will formally exempt 800,000 people from safety regulation and claims the government will save businesses hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in compliance costs.

Generally speaking, the average rate of fatal injuries at work drops year on year.  The provisional Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures for 2012-2013 show 148 fatalities in main industry but out of the 148, 49 were self-employed.

So any plan to exempt self-employed workers from their health and safety requirements is generally viewed as disappointing, and can only result in confusion and complications – the very things the Deregulation Bill is supposed to be removing.

The self-employed are required by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to make sure they protect others from harm resulting from their work activities.  It’s a requirement that is clear and works well.

Phil Jones of Quantum Compliance commented “Regardless of the outcome of current Government thinking, those engaging self-employed contractors will still need to carry out basic health and safety document checks, for example, insurance cover, risk assessments and method statements, to avoid being criticised of failing to adequately appraise the competence of contractors in the event of an incident or accident occurring”.

For more information on the bill you can visit Parliment’s website and view progress on this bill.