From April 2013, businesses will only face health and safety inspections if they are operating in high risk industries such as construction, or if they have had an incident or a track record of poor performance.
The move, announced yesterday by Business Secretary Vince Cable and the new Business Minister Michael Fallon, is part of plans to scrap or reduce more than 3,000 regulations surrounding business to help cut red tape and boost growth.
Cable said: "In these tough times, businesses need to focus all their energies on creating jobs and growth, not being tied up in unnecessary red tape. 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."
Responding to the news, the Forum of Private Business said it welcomed the news 'in principle'.
“I hope that this latest scheme will actually reduce the bureaucratic burdens to running a business and not simply be more hot air while small business owners are left to foot the bill,” said the Forum’s senior policy adviser, Alex Jackman.
“If it brings about a true risk-based culture to workplace health and safety law, and removes the less common sense elements that currently face business owners every day, then it is very welcome indeed."
In January, the British Hospitality Association submitted a report of recommendations to former Tourism Minister John Penrose on cutting red tape and easing the legislative burden on hospitality businesses, one of which was to minimise the cost and length of health and safety risk assessments.
Last week, David Cameron announced that one of the proposals, to relax planning laws, had been granted with businesses able to extend their sites by 1,076 sq ft without applying for planning permission.