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Health and safety rules ‘a burden’

24 May 2011

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Half of companies think there is too much bureaucracy with regards to health and safety in the workplace, with many businesses describing it as a ‘burden’, research shows.

Businesses also raised fears over the expense of sticking to health and safety regulations, after it was estimated by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) that they are costing industry more than £4bn.

Around half of the 6,000 employers questioned said that health and safety legislation was a burden and one in five sole traders said such rules had stopped them from recruiting another worker.

BCC director general David Frost said: “Health and safety regulation in the workplace is important, but it must be made more industry-specific. The UK has a good record on health and safety and preventing accidents at work. However, employers are dealing with a multitude of regulations that do not necessarily add to the safety of workers.

“The sheer volume of rules causes confusion for employers, particularly amongst smaller firms without the resource to tackle this.

“Time and again we hear of unnecessary and unreasonable examples of health and safety. For example, home workers are treated in the same way as those working onsite, with the employer forced to conduct ever-more elaborate and costly assessments of the employee’s home environment.”

The Government has said it wants to get rid of unnecessary or outdated regulations and has launched a “red tape challenge” in order to do so.

Employment minister Chris Grayling said: “I’m determined to stop Britain’s health and safety culture stifling business and holding back economic growth. That’s why responsible employers in low-risk businesses will no longer face automatic inspections.”

Copyright © Press Association 2011

British Chambers of Commerce