The government is planning to reduce the burden of regulation on small businesses with regards to health and safety legislation, it has emerged.

Business secretary John Hutton said he wants to cut the amount of time "low-risk" employers spend on administration related to health and safety.

He also wants to make "complex" regulations easier to understand, insisting this will help to create safer working environments.

While the UK has one of the best records for health and safety in the world, business perception of health and safety regulation is "poor", he claimed.

"Introducing simple steps, such as making information more easily available and getting better advice to firms that need it, will help save time and money for UK business," Mr Hutton remarked.

According to the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, the proposals could help small employers save £300 million a year.

Figures from the Health and Safety Executive show that in 2006/07 there were 274,000 reportable injuries at work.