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Chancellor launches health and safety review

27 November 2007

The Chancellor, Alistair Darling, announced at the CBI conference a major review of business health and safety laws. The review will ask employers, workers and experts for their views on how the health and safety system can be revamped, focussing on small and low risk businesses.

Many small employers have limited resources, find it difficult to work out what broad health and safety duties mean for their workplace and are unsure of when to take advice and from whom.

Welcoming the announcement, Better Regulation Minister Pat McFadden said, "I am fully aware of some of the considerable challenges that small firms face in protecting their workers from injuries and ill-health.
Government must work smarter to make it easier for employers to follow the rules, as this will benefit everyone and contribute to making our society safer."

The review by the Department for Business and Enterprise will look at how government can make it easier for these businesses to follow health and safety laws and prevent their workers getting ill or injured. It will also examine how to improve public confidence in the health and safety system.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published its 2007 simplification plan and has already reduced the number of forms by 50 per cent.

Notes
1. The Government announced that the Better Regulation Executive would undertake a review on health and safety in July 2007, as part of the Next Steps on Regulatory Reform announcement
http://bre.berr.gov.uk/regulation/reform/next_steps

2. More information on the Health & Safety Review can be found at: bre.berr.gov.uk/regulation

3. Anyone who wishes their views to be heard has until 31 January 2008 to send a response. A series of events will be held around the country to allow people the opportunity to give their views in person.

4. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is also publishing its 2007 simplification plan today and has worked in close partnership with its stakeholders to ensure that small businesses receive the help and support they need to protect people, but doing so in a better, less burdensome way.
The number of forms has already been reduced by 50 per cent and the HSE is also publishing new sector specific examples developed in partnership with small business.


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