The Government has announced radical moves to abandon or overhaul more than 3,000 health and safety regulations affecting shops, offices, pubs and clubs in a bid to curb red tape and boost economic growth.
The new rules will come into force from April 2013 and will exempt many businesses from burdensome, frequent health and safety inspections. However, businesses which are operating in higher risk areas such as construction – or have previously recorded an incident or have a track record of poor performance – will still be subject to health and safety inspections. For those property businesses which operate in the less risky areas, it will be a welcome relief and will enable owners to concentrate on other areas of their business.
The Government is set to introduce legislation next month to ensure that businesses will only be held liable for civil damages in health and safety cases if they can be shown to have acted negligently. This will end the current situation where businesses can automatically be liable for damages even if they were not actually negligent.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “In these tough times, businesses need to focus all their energies on creating jobs and growth, not being tied up in unnecessary red tape. I’ve listened to those concerns and we’re determined to put common sense back into areas like health and safety, which will reduce costs and fear of burdensome inspections.”
Commenting on the news, David Hudson, managing director of leading Manchester commercial insurance brokers Buckland Harvester, said: “Any effort to reduce the health and safety red tape faced by small businesses is to be welcomed and will hopefully inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs to set up their own business.
David added: “Health and safety legislation is a major consideration in the property sector and construction companies will still, quite rightly, be subject to stringent regulations to protect the public and their employees. For those property businesses which are involved in the high-risk areas, it’s essential that they develop a culture of compliance to avoid falling foul of the legislation. Employers liability insurance is also compulsory for most businesses which employ staff.”
For more information, please contact Buckland Harvester offices at 5 The Parsonage, Manchester M3 2HS Tel: 0161 835 9627