If you are self-employed, you must adhere to health and safety laws. Most people go about their work unaware of the paperwork and policies needed such as first aid and fire precaution, simply because it is the employer’s responsibility to take care of this.
But as a freelancer the onus is on you to ensure your own safety as well as those around you. It is your responsibility to comply with regulations and to keep your clients safe.
So here are some expert health and safety tips for being self-employed and remember; it pays to follow them unless you want to end up standing in front of a judge for liability!
- What does the law say?
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states that you have the duty to make sure you and others affected by your work activities are no exposed to harm. However the Act is currently going through a consultation to excuse those in ‘low risk’ occupations.
The Löfstedt review is campaigning to exempt contractors from the law whose work poses no potential risk of harm. If the report is acted upon, it could benefit up to one million freelancers.
Professor Löfstedt stated in the report: “The actual burden that the regulations currently place upon these self-employed may not be particularly significant due to existing exceptions in some regulations and the limited prospect of these being enforced but it will help reduce the perception that health and safety law is inappropriately applied.”
- What are your responsibilities?
– Take reasonable care to look after your own health and safety
– Cooperate with your client’s health and safety procedures
– Safeguard the health and safety of other people affected by your work
– Use tools and other equipment properly in line with safety instructions and any training given
- How can you look after your own health and safety?
One of the ways you can do this is by assessing the risks involved. Next time you do some work, consider the following dangers:
– Is the work stressful?
– Do you have to handle any dangerous equipment or substances?
– Are you medically fit to work alone?
– Take into account first aid needs; slips, trips and falls; electricity; fire; noise and manual handling
– Are there contingency plans in case of an emergency or accident?
– Is there a risk of violence?
Nevertheless, there is always the risk of injury or death as accidents can happen so you should cover yourself just in case with insurance. This just gives you some peace of mind that if you were to suddenly find yourself in the situation unable to work and provide for your family, that you are covered
This insurance covers you for any liability you may have to your employees.
This insurance will cover you for any liability or death to third parties, and damage to third party property as a result of negligence by you or your employees.
Make sure you follow these health and safety tips to ensure that you and those around you are safe when you are working.
This article was written by Nixon Williams, the specialist accounting company for self-employed individuals. Visit the site today for advice on tax efficiency and to check out the Take Home Pay Calculator.