Under new rules which are set to come into force next April, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities will only carry out regular health and safety inspections on high-risk businesses.
This includes businesses in high-risk sectors such as construction and food production, as well as those where an accident has recently occurred or there is a track record of poor performance.
Further changes to health and safety legislation will be introduced this October so that businesses will only be liable for civil damages if it can be shown that they acted negligently.
The moves come as the government pledged to update or scrap at least 3,000 of the 6,500 regulations examined under the Red Tape Challenge, with all the rules to be targeted identified by December 2013.
“In these tough times, businesses need to focus all their energies on creating jobs and growth, not being tied up in unnecessary red tape,” said Business Secretary Vince Cable. “I’ve listened to those concerns and we’re determined to put common sense back into areas like health and safety, which will reduce costs and fear of burdensome inspections.”