Katy Clark MP has criticised the UK Government’s plans to ‘dilute’ health and safety laws.
local MP spoke out during debates in the House of Commons on the
Deregulation Bill, which contains provisions that would reduce health
and safety laws covering self-employed workers. Ms Clark highlighted
that fatality rates among self-employed workers are higher than those
relating to staff directly employed by companies.
said, “In autumn 2012 the Health and Safety Executive consulted on
exempting some of the self-employed from health and safety provisions.
The majority of those who responded to that consultation - including a
majority of the self-employed - opposed the proposal.
moment, all self-employed people have a legal duty to ensure they
protect others from harm resulting from their work. The strength of the
health and safety legislation in the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act
1974 is its simplicity, and the fact that the test and legal obligation
involved is simple and applies to everybody. One problem with other
areas of employment protection is that it is often an employee who may
receive some form of right or entitlement, rather than workers in
general, which means that many people try to avoid obligations by using
devices such as zero-hours contracts. The fact the Government are
proceeding down such a path for health and safety is a negative
development that I believe we will all regret in years to come.”
Labour MP points out the high fatality rates amongst the self-employed -
1.1 person per 100,000 compared with 0.4 for employed workers – adding,
“In part, that might be because self-employed people are more likely to
be found in more dangerous occupations. However, the statistics on
people with the same occupation show that self-employed people seem to
have higher fatality rates.
“We know that the problem of deaths
and illnesses associated with work is extremely significant. Worldwide,
2.3 million die as a result of incidents at work every year. The
health and safety magazine, ‘Hazards’, estimates that in Britain work
kills 1,400 people each year, and that 50,000 die in work-related
The MP for North Ayrshire & Arran believes health
and safety legislation is “far from red tape”, noting, “It has saved
probably thousands of lives since it came into effect in 1974. The fact
that the Government are trying yet again to take away that protection
for the self-employed is bad for Britain.”