The Deregulation Bill in part makes provision for the reduction of financial burdens on businesses resulting from legislative compliance. Ministers claim it will formally exempt 800,000 people and save hundreds of thousands of pounds for businesses; the question is how?
The move intends to change Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act which places duties on self employed persons to ensure that their work activities do not harm or endanger others not in their employment. It is intended that this duty is removed when the activities pose no risk to others. However, if an activity poses no risk to others surely this would have been identified during planning and risk assessment process. Therefore for low risk activities there would be little to do in the first place. So where is this huge financial burden hidden?
HSE figures for 2012-2013 gave 148 deaths across UK industries; 49 of these people were self-employed. Do we really want to deregulate a high risk sector and add the confusion as to who is exempt from the law and who is not?
Currently self employed persons have to ensure that their activities do not harm others; this is clear and should remain so. Is this not just a case of the government being seen to be doing something that is actually nothing, saving no one any money and causing confusion in an industry that screams for clarity?