The calls, the most recent of which came from the Forum of Private Business (FPB), follows confirmation that the Government is to review the existing laws.
Chancellor Alistair Darling said the Government is now seeking the opinion of employers, workers and industry experts on how the health and safety system could be improved.
He said many lessons had already been learned, adding: “What is needed is genuine cultural change. If you don’t need to regulate, then don’t. And if we do, do what’s necessary – no gold plating.
“But that regulation has to be proportionate. For health and safety, we have already cut the number of forms by 50%.”
The review, to be undertaken by the Better Regulation Executive, which is part of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, aims to ensure that “sensible” health and safety requirements are placed on businesses.
“This is a welcome step, but only a first step,” said the FPB’s director of finance and administration, Nick Palin.
His comments follow a recent small firms summit at which the burden of health and safety legislation was found to be the most pressing concern for business owners.