Lords Urged to Scrap Deregulation Bill Clause

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has once again called on the House of Lords to scrap Clause 1 of the Government’s Deregulation Bill.

As it stands, the clause will amend health and safety law to exempt certain self-employed workers from the general health and safety duty for themselves and non-employees, except if undertaking ‘prescribed activities’.

These proposals intend to rely on an extended prescribed list of high hazard or high risk sector activities – like in agriculture and construction – but will knowingly exempt many self-employed who may pose a risk to others.

IOSH and other professional occupational safety and health organisations have raised concerns that exemption could lead to confusion, lower standards and increase the risk of injury and illness at work.

Peers previously voted in favour of keeping Clause 1 as part of the Bill in October 2014 but will have a further opportunity to examine it during second a debate in the House of Lords.

“IOSH firmly believes this exemption is unnecessary, unhelpful and unwise – causing confusion and potentially putting people’s lives at risk” explained Richard Jones, head of policy and public affairs at IOSH.

“We urge the Lords to understand the serious and growing stakeholder concerns about this ill-conceived exemption from a wide range of employer, employee and professional bodies,” he added. “We ask that the Lords acknowledge the benefits of the UK’s current simple, inclusive and risk-based system; recognise that these exemption proposals aren’t supported by Professor Löfstedt; and recommend removal of this misguided and potentially dangerous clause.”

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