Thousands of businesses in the UK will be exempted from their health and safety inspections in the future, as new rules are carried out in April 2013.
The new regulations will apply to areas which are considered low risk, such as shops. Ministers have said that the health and safety checks will place an unnecessary burden on businesses and they should not have to carry out routine inspections. The cut down on bureaucracy will save many companies millions of pounds in total. The government will scrap more than 3,000 regulations including those for shops, pubs, clubs and offices. The new policy would also make changes to the rules on employment.
However, some trade unions have argued that the change in health and safety regulations with the intent of increasing profit for businesses has the risk of becoming perilous to the safety of employees as well as customers.
Only High Risk Industries Under Inspection
According to the new regulations, companies will only face health and safety inspections if they are higher risk industries, such as in the areas of food production or construction, or if they have a previous history of health and safety violations.
Many business groups have welcomed the plan, stating that the money saved by cutting down on excessive regulation and inspections can be used to develop new products, hire staff and further encourage businesses to grow. Every time a regulation needs to be enforced by inspections, this costs time and money.
Trade Unions Worried About Risks
Many trade unions in the UK have voiced their opposition to the change in regulations, arguing that the decision could be a very dangerous one. They fear that the lack of regulations will give some businesses the ability to cut corners, compromisingÂ the safety of their employers in order to make more profit. If health and safety concerns are ignored in these businesses, it could lead to a situation where an employee or a customer is seriously hurt or even killed.
Many trade unions are strongly suggesting that this decision be reconsidered, for the sake of the safety of workers as well as the public.