Retailers are being warned they could face higher insurance premiums thanks to the introduction of a new scheme designed to help the NHS recoup the costs of treating workplace injuries.
The government has announced that, through the new NHS Injury Costs Recovery scheme, the NHS will be able to claim back more than £150m a year and up to £37,100 a case for treating employees injured at work. However, it has been estimated that employers' liability insurance will increase by 5-8% as a result.
The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) expressed concern that the potential increases would mean retailers would be put off recruiting staff.
Public affairs manager Shane Brennan said: "This scheme is likely to act as a real disincentive to small employers looking to take on staff. It's very concerning; it could mean many businesses miss the chance to grow and retailers take on a greater burden themselves."
The Federation of Small Businesses also voiced concerns about the scheme and the added pressure it would place on employers. It called for insurers to react sensibly. Health and safety chairman Mary Boughton said: "We're not here to defend businesses whose negligence causes accidents in the workplace, but small businesses that can demonstrate a good health and safety record should be entitled to reduced premiums."