Hundreds of thousands of businesses are to be exempted from health and safety inspections under moves announced by the Government today. Legislation will be introduced which ministers say will protect business from "compensation culture" claims.
More than 3,000 regulations will be scrapped or overhauled, so that shops, offices, pubs and clubs will no longer face "burdensome" health and safety inspections.
Officials described it as a "radical" plan to curb red tape.
From next April, the Government intends to introduce binding new rules on both the Health & Safety Executive and local authorities that will exempt hundreds of thousands of businesses from regular inspections.
Firms will only face health and safety inspections if they are operating in higher-risk areas such as construction or if they have an incident or track record of poor performance.
The Government also said it will introduce legislation next month to ensure that businesses will only be held liable for civil damages in health and safety cases if they can be shown to have acted negligently. Unions have reacted angrily to the news, saying the legislation will make workplaces more dangerous, and employers less liable.