HSE Proposes Exemptions for 865,000 Self-Employed

The British agency has opened a public consultation on proposals to exempt some self-employed people from health and safety legislation.

A current public consultation by the UK's OSHA agency, the Health and Safety Executive, is asking the public -- particularly people who are self-employed -- to comment about possibly exempting self-employed people whose work activities pose no potential risk of harm to others from health and safety legislation.

This would be a significant change and a savings for an estimated 865,000 individuals among the 1.3 million people who are self-employed in the United Kingdom and have no employees.

Under the agency's preferred option, self-employed people in these sectors would not be exempt: agriculture, construction, quarries, mining, diving, offshore, and COMAH and sub-COMAH sites (sites covered by the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999). Sub-COMAH sites are defined as sites storing, handling, or producing dangerous substances below COMAH thresholds where the worst foreseeable event would be comparable to that at a COMAH site.

This consultation began last month and will end Oct. 28. It stemmed from an independent reviewer's recommendations and the British government's desire to ease compliance burdens on businesses.

HSE noted this action is deregulatory measure, so no alternatives to regulatory activity have been evaluated.

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