The last few years have seen a significant increase in the number of people who are classified as self employed. The number of self employed workers in the UK is now the highest it’s been in 75 years!
There are many suspected reasons for this. The clearest reason is the global recession. Some people will have chosen to become self employed because they spotted a gap in the market and others will have become self employed because they were given no choice. Another reason for this boom is the internet. With more channels of communication and an increased ability to work remotely, more people are choosing to adopt less traditional working models.
In a recent article in the Telegraph, it was also suggested that self employment is seeing a rise in popularity because it is now more socially acceptable. Whatever the reasons, the self employed now represent a significant percentage of the UK workforce and economy.
On aspect of being self employed which has been regularly debated over the last few years is health and safety law. Traditionally, self employed workers were subject to the same health and safety laws as all other businesses, irrespective of the danger involved in their daily duties.
Very recently, the Health and Safety Executive have released a statement which outlines their plans to change this. After an independent review of health and safety legislation it was recommended that the HSE legislation which is applied to self employed workers should be reviewed.
As a result, self employed workers will now be exempt from health and safety law if they pose ‘no potential risk of harm to others’. Though this might not seem like a huge step, for many self employed workers it will lift an unnecessary burden. It will also free up important HSE resources so that those who are at risk can be better protected.