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Safety checks no longer compulsory

Tens of thousands of businesses will no longer undergo unnecessary health and safety inspections thanks to a new code introduced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The statutory National Enforcement Code bans local authorities from carrying out inspections which are not justified on a risk basis. It means most shops and offices will not be stifled by needless burdens. Council inspections will instead target higher risk activities in specified sectors, or when there is intelligence of workplaces putting employees or the public at risk.

“Real improvement in safety performance will come from targeting those who put their employees at greatest risk,” said HSE Chair Judith Hackitt. “Local inspectors have a very important role to play in ensuring the effective and proportionate management of risks by businesses, and the code is designed to guide them to do this.”

Higher risk activities include sites such as cooling towers, where life-threatening legionella bacteria can develop, and buried liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) gas pipes which can create an explosion if corroded. Despite the new measures, health and safety checks will continue at businesses that perform poorly in an attempt to make them get their act together.

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