More than one million British bosses are breaking the law by failing to keep up with European Union (EU) regulations, independent research by Norwich Union (NU) has shown.

The research revealed that three out of four bosses of small and medium-sized businesses had not made any changes to their business practices as a result of EU laws.

Nine out of ten businesses in the manufacturing industry admitted they had never made any changes, compared with the retail sector, where more than a third of businesses had made changes.

The research also showed that half of bosses had never made a safety risk assessment, although it is a requirement under

EU law. Three out of four had not bothered to find out about EU laws or keep up with legislative changes, because three -quarters said they were too busy or that it was not a priority.

Yet three out of five bosses think the UK is more stringent at enforcing EU laws than other countries.

NU small commercial markets head Peter Knowles said hundreds of EU laws were passed every year that affected every area of business.

“If worrying about what's happening in the EU isn't a priority and businesses don't keep on top of these changes, they could be breaking the law and putting their business and staff at risk,” he said.

However, three out of four bosses told NU that it was difficult, if not impossible, to get information about EU regulation changes.

NU has launched a free guide called Unravelling European Business Law, which is endorsed by the Federation of Small Business, and has been mailed to intermediaries.