markhobanHealth & Safety portfolio Minister Mark Hoban has suggested that the current system of fire risk assessments may be "overbearing" and a burden on businesses.

Speaking at the British Safety Council Annual Conference [5 June] Mr Hoban responded to questions about the impact of FRAs on businesses by saying that "there is a need to look at the burden of current [fire safety] requirements".

"If they a clear basis and can be justified for that business or premises then the FRA criteria should remain but there are some [FRA criteria] that seem unnecessary and could be cut to reduce red-tape," Mr Hoban added.

Better fire prevention reduces likelihood of deaths
The debate over FRAs has heightened since the publication of the coroners report into Lakanal House which suggested that better fire prevention systems would have reduce the likelihood of deaths.

Mr Hoban's comments also echo recent remarks made by Communities & Local Government secretary Eric Pickles which criticised the Welsh Assembly's introduction of sprinkler legislation and ... [full story here].

Though Mr Hoban refused to comment when asked about this issue by FIRE Magazine he did re-iterate the government's commitment to continue cutting red-tape saying that the UK needs "relevant up-to-date regulation to protect people but not so wrapped in red-tape that it restricts businesses and economic growth.

Good health & safety makes business sense
The event also saw the launch of the BSC's review of the business benefits of health & safety which calculated the annual cost to British society of work-related ill health and injuries at £13.42bn.

Echoing the findings of Professor Ragnar Loftstedt, the review concluded that "proportional and sensible health and safety practice can make both business and wellbeing sense".

Since the 2011 Loftstedt report a number of key health-and-safety changes have been made including revisions of the standards on fire-risk and potentially hazardous materials.

Other speakers at the event included the BSC's Alex Botha, shadow spokesperson Lord McKenzie and St John Ambulance's Richard Evens, who focused on the health aspects of H&S - for a full report on his talk and more coverage visit our sister-site 

If you missed any of the talks check out @fire_editor and @ambulance_news live tweets with #businessbenefits