The government are to relax the rules on health and safety regulation, it was announced last week. The changes, which are set to come into force in April 2013, will see over 3000 regulations either scrapped or overhauled. Business Secretary Vince Cable made the announcement on Monday 10th September, commenting : “In these tough times, businesses need to focus all their energies on creating jobs and growth, not being tied up in unnecessary red tape.’
Whilst this news is likely to be well-received by the majority of small business owners, I can’t help but feel slightly worried by the announcement. This week alone I have heard reports of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issuing fines of Â£20,000 and Â£15,000 to a steel company and a rubber manufacturer respectively after workers suffered severe injuries.
It is some comfort to know that higher-risk areas, such as construction, and companies that have a poor health and safety track record, will not be affected by the changes. However, as a solicitor dealing with work accident claims, I know that preventable accidents are taking place on a daily basis in workplaces at the moment; even with the current, supposedly ‘burdensome’, approach of the HSE. I just hope that the news of these changes doesn’t lead to any slackening of the safety procedures and precautions in the country’s workplaces.
By Paul Corrigan, Personal Injury Solicitor