Why SME Deregulation is Misleading Small Business Leaders

Posted by Jonathan Pile on Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Today Coalition Conservative Minister Michael Fallon has announced deregulation for Small Businesses in a bonfire of Red Tape.

Compile would urge Small Business Owners to treat this deregulation with caution. Whilst by April 2013, Small Low Risk Businesses such as Shops might not expect routine Local Authority Visits and perhaps think that the risk of getting caught for breachs of the 1974 HSAWA might be lower, if simple Risk Controls are ignored by businesses such as Checking Smoke Alarms, Replenishing Fire Extinguishers, ensuring Fire Exits are clear of Stock Obstructions, putting grit down in Winter then the actual number of Businesses and Directors being sued, fined and prosecuted may actually increase.

The Law of Unintended Consequences has already impacted on well meaning Coalition efforts to remove so called Yellow Tape which is felt by some to tie the hands of business. Cutting the HSE budgets has led to the ending of free telephone advice for Businesses in September 2011 (Closure of HSE Infoline) and the imposition of Cost Recovery which will levy fines of up to £1500 for HSE Time resulting from enforcement notices.

The Workplace Fatality rate has risen since the Coalition came to power in 2010, reversing the 30 year trend of improvement at a time of economic slowdown when it would be expected to fall with173 fatalities in 2011.

Businesses may feel that deregulation offers the opportunity to stop paying expensive fees for external consultancy cover and take charge of Safety Management within a company. This is to be welcomed as a greater understanding of real safety risks and a move away from tick box compliance culture would bring savings in lives and money. We suggest that Business Owners adopt the IOSH Model and ensure that at least one person in the organisation is trained to IOSH standard - IOSH Managing Safely being the recommended qualification for Britain's 8 million Line Managers. Compile Consulting is accredited by IOSH to train IOSH Managing Safely in the workplace or can offer elearning IOSH Managing Safely (via our Partner Network) from £249