Under new proposals to be introduced by Government from April 2013, businesses that are classified as ‘low risk’, such as shops, offices, clubs etc, will no longer face routine health and safety inspections.
Employers will still have a primary duty in law to protect their employees from harm while in employment and to provide a comfortable, safe environment in which to perform their contracted duties. Companies and organisations should keep their health and safety management systems under review.
High risk sectors, such as construction and food production, will continue to be inspected, as will businesses who have had an accident or a track record of poor performance.
It is hoped that this type of deregulation will result in significant cost-savings and will support economic growth. Business Secretary Vince Cable said, “We’re determined to put common sense back into areas like health and safety, which will reduce costs and fear of burdensome inspections.”
Business leaders have largely welcomed the plans if they can prove to have the impact intended. However Trade Union leaders have been less supportive of the development, viewing the proposals as an ‘all out attack’ on health and safety.
The proposals are part of a wider effort to reduce the regulatory ‘red tape’ burden upon businesses. Over 3000 regulations are currently targeted for abolition or reduction as part of the Red Tape Challenge process, with details of these to be identified by December 2013.