Health and safety legislation must be complied with in the workplace to prevent staff absences, which can be detrimental to smaller businesses, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Research published by the HSE shows that 2.2 million people were suffering from an illness they believed was caused or made worse by their current or past work - 646, 000 of which were new cases in the last 12 months.
This led to a total of 36 million work days lost (1.5 days per worker), 30 million due to work-related ill health and six million due to workplace injury.
The HSE stated that some company directors of SMEs are critical of the amount of company legislation they have to endure, but warned that they should remember they have a duty to protect their staff.
BT Business report published in October 2007 indicates that simplifying the regulations and lowering the taxes faced by small businesses will help them grow, facilitating better regulation compliance.
A spokesperson for the HSE said: "[A] key resource for any business, big or small, is people and health and safety law is all about protecting people.
"The law does not require you to be 100 per cent risk free, the law requires you to identify risk and put in place measures
to manage the risk."
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