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CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS ESCAPE GOVT ‘BAN’ ON INSPECTIONS

Government exempt hundreds of thousands of workplaces from safety checks

The government has announced that ‘low risk’ premises will no longer face health and safety inspections and over 3,000 regulations will be scrapped or overhauled “to curb red tape and boost business growth”.

From April 2013 new inspection rules will bind HSE and local authorities. Businesses will only experience inspections if they:

  • operated in ‘higher risk’ areas;
  • experience a ‘real incident;
  • have a track record of ‘poor performance'; or
  • are subject to a ‘genuine’ employee complaint.

Businesses operating in high risk areas e.g. mining, construction, explosives, gas fitting & installation, diving, agricultural activities, offshore activities, chemical industries and nuclear installations will not be exempt from proactive enforcement.

‘Strict liability’ principle and 3,000 regulations to be abolished

In addition to reduced inspections the Government will (next month) table legislation to remove the part of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which imposes civil liability for breaches of statutory duty in relation to health and safety regulations (HSW Act Section 47(b)).

The intention is that the so-called ‘strict liability principle’ will be removed for civil claims by the end of the Parliamentary session.

The Government is also systematically examining some 6,500 regulations and is now committing to abolish or substantially reduce at least 3,000 of these regulations.

Alexander Ehmann, Head of Regulatory Policy at the Institute of Directors said:

“The Government’s efforts on deregulation are welcome. Today’s announcements are good news if they are the beginning, not the end of the deregulation story.

Removing the headache of health and safety inspections for low-risk businesses is a step change.

Scrapping unnecessary and unpredictable inspections is a valuable piece of deregulation and the Government are to be congratulated for taking such bold and decisive action on behalf of Britain’s businesses.”

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

“Contrary to myths peddled by ministers, the UK is facing an occupational health epidemic. Over 20,000 people die every year as a result of a disease they got through their work and a further 1.9 million people are living with an illness caused by their work.

Some of the ‘low risk’ workplaces identified by the government, such as shops, actually experience high levels of workplace injuries. This epidemic will only be stopped by ensuring that employers obey the law, and when every employer knows their workplace can be visited at any time.

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