Employers are worried about health and safety and employment regulations, but are unaware of their responsibilities in these areas, new research by Zurich's commercial business unit has shown.

The research showed that 53% of small and medium-sized businesses are concerned, and 17% are very concerned, about health and safety regulations. More than 30% are worried about employment law and almost 50% are worried about other legislation affecting their business.

However, commercial business unit underwriting and marketing director Roger Thrift said many companies were not doing enough to ensure they complied with the regulations.

“They're doing little more than putting their heads in the sand and hoping they already comply with legislation or, if they don't, plan to plead ignorance if they're found out,” Thrift said.

“This isn't a valid defence. Insurers and brokers not only need to do more in terms of educating customers on their compliance needs, they also need to be more proactive in promoting services and products in this area.”