Uncategorized

Self employed exemption: why entertain it?

By on

The blanket exemption for millions of self employed workers from health and safety law will cause enormous confusion and could undermine the extensive good practice.


A proposal in the Deregulation Bill to exempt many self-employed workers from the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act is now before parliament.

Although specified industries or activities such as construction and mining will continue to be covered by health and safety legislation, the vast majority of the UK’s 4.6m self-employed workers will be completely exempt from all regulations.

This will be a major set back for the cause of workplace health and safety, and apart from the likely increase in levels of injury, will cause enormous confusion in sectors where employees and the self-employed work alongside each other.

How are responsible employers going to maintain robust management of health and safety when significant numbers among their workforces are able to say “the rules don’t affect us”? The entertainment sector, in which BECTU has 25,000 members, many of them self-employed freelancers, offers many examples in film, TV, theatre and events, of mixed teams of workers carrying out exacting and hazardous activities, which will be divided by the planned exemption.

Employers, still carrying civil liability for personal injuries despite the exemption of some of their workers, are likely to respond by making health and safety for freelancers a matter of contract compliance. By increasing the burden of cost and administration this will achieve the exact opposite of the exemption’s claimed benefit.

When originally proposed, the exemption was intended to cover self-employed workers “who pose no risk to others”, which was at least understandable, and would have allowed employers like those in the entertainment sector to carry on as usual with health and safety.

However, the prospect of a blanket exemption for millions of workers is causing concern among employers and unions alike, and could undermine the extensive good practice in workplaces which has been developed since the 1974 Act was passed.

Gerry Morrissey is the general secretary of the media and entertainment trade union BECTU. 

 

UNCATEGORIZED


Lawrence Waterman Chairman of British Safety Council-editedSMLL.jpg

Charity work: inspiring and professional

By Lawrence Waterman OBE's first column for Safety Management on 09 May 2018

It is always pleasing when expectations are exceeded, when people are surprised because their experience is so much better than what they were expecting. Here at the British Safety Council we have several ways of doing that, often employed in a combination that brings a smile to the lips.



mike-robinson_039_0_1_2_1.jpg

Don’t take safety for granted

By Mike Robinson, chief executive of the British Safety Council on 11 May 2018

The principle of continual improvement has long been accepted as a key component of effective health and safety management, and the plan-do-check-act cycle is widely recognised throughout the world.



Future risk iStock-SMLL credit-zoranm.jpg

Good work for all, today and tomorrow

By Matthew Holder, head of campaigns at the British Safety Council, introduces a new report on future risk on 23 February 2018

The British Safety Council has produced a new literature review on how changes to the way we work are likely to change risks to our health, safety and wellbeing in the future.