Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Health and Safety inspection cut for thousands of firms has been criticised.

Recent decision for hundreds of thousands of businesses to be exempted from health and safety inspections under regulatory changes unveiled by the Government has been criticised by trade unions and safety groups.

Shops, offices, pubs and clubs will no longer face the workplace checks from April 2013, ministers have announced.

In future, businesses should 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 has said that it 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 reforms are part of government plans to scrap or overhaul 3,000 regulations to ease the burden on UK firms. Business secretary Vince Cable said “Removing unnecessary red tape and putting common sense back into areas like health and safety will reduce fears and costs for businesses,” he said. “We want to help give British business the confidence it needs to create more jobs and support the wider economy to grow.”

The TUC have warned that the decision could put the health of UK employees at risk.

TUC’s general secretary, Brendan Barber stated “Health and safety regulation is not a burden on business, it is a basic protection for workers....Cutting back on regulation and inspections will lead to more injuries and deaths as a result of poor safety at work.”

It is clear some of the ‘low risk’ workplaces identified by the Government, such as shops, actually experience high levels of workplace injuries. This will only get worse if the regulations are eroded by the Governments decision and the employers find it easier to ignore safety risks which may ultimately lead to a rise in personal injury claims – something we are sure the workplaces, their insurers or the Government will not want to see.
Mofozzul Hussain LLB (Hons) -Office Manager (Birkenhead) and Personal Injury Solicitor

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