Over the last few decades health and safety policies in the UK have slowly become stricter. The fear of being sued has, in some circumstances overtaken common-sense. From children not being allowed to play in a school playground for fear of falling over and hurting themselves to a mechanic not being allowed to work on his own car during his lunch break on a company’s forecourt in case he injures himself and sues the company.
But now health and safety is taking a U-turn as ministers have announced that thousands of businesses will be exempt from inspections.
Speaking of the change in legislation, Vince Cable, Business Secretary, said: “We’re determined to put common sense back into areas like health and safety, which will reduce costs and fear of burdensome inspections.”
Under the new rules which will come into effect from April 2013, only commercial properties operating in high-risk areas, such as industrial, construction and food production will require inspections to ensure health and safety isn’t breached. But if a business has a poor performance or bad track record for accidents, they will also receive regular check-ups.
Commercial properties operating a retail outlet, an office or a leisure facility like a pub or club will no longer have inspections under the new rules.
For small businesses, the checks can hinder a wholes days’ work and takings, as Alexander Ehmann, from the Institute of Directors, said: “Excessive regulation costs time and money, both of which businesses would rather spend on developing new products, hiring staff and building up British business both here and abroad.”
Do you run a small business? Do you welcome the changes to health and safety inspections or do you think all businesses should be regularly checked to ensure both staff and customers are not put in any unnecessary danger?