Health and safety culture is “stifling business” says the government, which has announced that council inspections of shops and offices in England are now to be cut by around a third.
The changes will benefit businesses considered to pose low health and safety risks, and will allow council inspections to concentrate instead on higher-risk companies. The Health and Safety Executive says councils will now be able to put more effort into targeting rogue employers who disregard the law and endanger their staff and members of the public.
The new guidance for councils in England says that businesses with a good record of managing hazards well should not face routine inspections. Instead, councils will spend more time dealing with complaints, investigating incidents and advising and supporting businesses over workplace risks. There could now be up to 65,000 fewer inspections of premises each year.
Employment minister Chris Grayling said: “This is another step on our journey to restore common sense to health and safety. Clearly we must ensure that people are properly protected at work, but health and safety culture is stifling business and holding back economic growth. These reforms will ensure that shops and offices are protected without the burden of unnecessary bureaucracy.”