Low-risk Jobs to be Exempt from Health & Safety Assessments

The self-employed and homeworkers will be exempt from health and safety risk assessments if their work environment is low risk under new proposals.

Lord Young’s recently published report Common Sense, Common Safety, commissioned by the Government, suggested that risk assessments carried out by small businesses should be proportionate to the type of work involved, and that homeworkers and self-employed people doing low-hazard work should be exempt altogether.

The Government has accepted Young’s recommendations and will publish guidance for low-risk small firms in June 2011.

Croner safety technical manager, Nasar Farooq, welcomed Young’s recommendations.

“Employees working within their own home are likely to be at low risk and they should be able to manage their own safety.”

“The recommendations to simplify risk assessments for low-hazard businesses are sensible, as some small firms are spending too much time and money on carrying out unnecessarily rigorous risk assessments and being exploited by some health and safety consultants.”

The report also proposed that existing health and safety legislation should be simplified and consolidated into a single set of regulations.

“This could also be helpful, but the regulations covering different types of business are there for a reason and should not be generalised too much, as it could cause more confusion.”

Institute of Directors’ (IoD) head of regulatory affairs, Alexander Ehmann, said:

“Low-risk businesses have been over-regulated on health and safety for too long. These proposals go a long way to lightening the load on offices and businesses across the country.”

Lord Young’s recommendations for the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) include:

  • creating simple, online, interactive risk assessments for low-hazard workplaces

  • developing checklists to enable low-risk firms to check and record their compliance, and online videos showing best practice

  • exempting employers from risk assessments for homeworkers in low-risk environments

  • exempting self-employed people in low-hazard businesses from risk assessments

  • creating a register of approved occupational safety consultants.

A consultation on consolidating legislation into a single set of regulations will be held in March 2011.

For more information on current health and safety regulations, visit the HSE website.

Low-risk Jobs to be Exempt from Health & Safety Assessments

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