From April 2013, the Government intends to introduce binding new rules on both the Health & Safety Executive and on local authorities, that will exempt hundreds of thousands of businesses from burdensome, regular health & safety inspections.
In future, businesses will only face health and safety inspections if they are operating in higher risk areas such as construction, or if they have an incident or a track record of poor performance.
In addition, the Government will 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.
The Government is also taking radical action on red tape in a further measure to boost growth and jobs in the economy. The Government is systematically examining some 6,500 substantive regulations that it inherited through the Red Tape Challenge process. The Government is now committing to abolish or substantially reduce at least 3,000 of these regulations and it will complete the identification of the regulations to be scrapped or overhauled by December 2013.
This commitment constitutes the most ambitious action ever proposed by a modern British government to slash the burden of regulation and set businesses free. It will save British companies millions of pounds in wasted time and money, and help spur economic growth and innovation across the UK.
The Red Tape Challenge has already resulted in a series of red tape cuts including a radical package of employment tribunal reforms, expected to deliver £40 million of savings per year to employers.
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.”
Business Minister Michael Fallon said: “Today’s announcement injects fresh impetus into our drive to cut red tape. We have identified the red tape and now we are going to cut it.
‘ We’re getting out of the way by bringing common sense back to health and safety. We will now be holding departments’ feet to the fire to ensure all unnecessary red tape is cut.”