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 health & safety inspections.
In future, businesses will only be inspected if they are operating in high risk areas, such as construction, or if they have a poor record.
The Government will also change the law next month so companies will only be 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.
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.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
“We are delivering a number of reforms across the economy to deliver on our top priority – strong and sustainable growth.
“Removing unnecessary red tape and putting common sense back into areas like health and safety will reduce fears and costs for businesses. We want to help give British business the confidence it needs to create more jobs and support the wider economy to grow.”
The Government is also taking radical action on red tape in a further measure to boost growth and jobs in the economy. It 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.
Business Minister Michael Fallon said:
“Cutting red tape shows the Government is serious about helping businesses to flourish. We’re getting out of the way by bringing common sense back to health and safety.
“And we will be holding departments’ feet to the fire to ensure all unnecessary red tape is cut, and we can boost the jobs and growth that our economy needs.”