Self-Employed in England Soon to Be Exempt from Health and Safety Law

The exemption takes effect Oct. 1 for those who are self-employed doing work that poses no potential risk to the health and safety of other workers or members of the public.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2015, about 1.7 million people in England who are self employed will be exempt from health and safety law. This change came about after the 2011 Löfstedt Review recommended that self-employed individuals whose work activities pose no potential risk of harm to others should be exempt from health and safety law, and the British Government accepted the recommendation.

There are exceptions: Self-employed people are not exempt if they work in agriculture, construction, gas, railways, with asbestos, or with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) within a research laboratory or a biotechnology production facility and not released into the environment. These sectors are considered high risk, according to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), which is equivalent to OSHA in the United States.

HSE said a "risk to the health and safety of others" is defined as the likelihood of someone else being harmed or injured (members of the public, clients, contractors, etc.) as a consequence of your work activity.

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