A report published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in August 2014 showed that 4.6 million people are currently self-employed, which is the equivalent of 15 per cent of the overall workforce. Not only is this the highest percentage since records began in 1971, it's also a two per cent increase on 2008 (prior to the financial crisis), when 13 per cent of the working population were sole traders.
A study, released by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation and KPMG, suggested that the number of temporary/contract workers securing jobs in the UK continues to rise. Indeed, the research published on November 7th 2014, found that the volume of contract staff billings has now increased for 18 consecutive months.
For those self-employed or sub-contracting workers who suffer a workplace injury it's important to note that they still operate within the protection and basic obligations of the law.
One-fifth of all UK-based self-employed workers were building sector traders in 2014. This industry is also renowned for its hazardous nature, with statistics from the Health and Safety Executive confirming that construction accounted for 10 per cent of all reported injuries in 2013-14, despite only making up five per cent of the nation's overall workforce.
With so many building contractors working independently or for differing employers, different legal principles apply and it's important that you know where to turn when specialist legal advice is required.
With vast experience of injury claims from construction workers we are very well versed in the particular legal duties, evidential sources and have the capacity and experience to understand the workings of complex construction sites and other industrial working environments.
Another key sector with many self-employed workers exposed to risk is the road haulage industry.
The government has recently tried to pass an amendment to The Deregulation Bill to exempt most self-employed people from the protection of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This followed an attempt by the government to take up a recommendation from Professor Ragnar Lofstedt's 2011 report 'Reclaiming Health and Safety For All' that self-employed people whose work does not pose a risk to the health and safety of others should be exempted to the extreme of proposing that all self-employed persons should be exempted.
The House of Lords, quite rightly in my view, recently rejected this proposed amendment and the bill has been progressing through the committee stage of the legislative process before further amendments can be considered by both houses.
It is to be hoped that a resolution is found that continues to deter unsafe working practices and that does not shift the financial burden of caring for and supporting those injured through the negligence of other self-employed workers on to the state - when there is a perfectly viable insurance solution in place.
Whether you are self-employed and have been injured through your work or you have been injured as a result of a self-employed party, we are able to offer expert advice and representation at no cost to you, often with solutions that may not be obvious.
For free advice and home visits please ring 0800 587 0746, for a confidential discussion.
At Carrs Solicitors, you will always have a senior solicitor who will personally handle every aspect of your personal injury claim and who will always be available to answer your questions. We are ready to listen and to offer free impartial advice in strict confidence.
No win, no fee, no obligation