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28th July 2011

HSE Launches Fee For Fault Consultation

HSE launches Fee for Fault consultation

The HSE has launched a three-month consultation on how it plans to recover costs for its interventions from businesses that fail to comply with health and safety laws.

As agreed with the Government earlier this year, the HSE plans to levy fees on companies where a material breach of the laws is discovered during an inspection or investigation.

Under the plans, the HSE will recover costs when duty holders are, in an inspector’s opinion, in “material breach” of the law. This applies where the duty holder has breached the law and a requirement to rectify the breach is formally made in writing — through improvement and prohibition notices, electronic mail or letter.

Fees would be charged up to the point where the HSE’s intervention in supporting a business to correct the breach is complete, and under the current consultation, the HSE are proposing to charge for its time at a rate of £133 per hour.

The HSE have always had cost-recovery fee arrangements with high risk industries such as petrochemical and nuclear, however, these new proposals would apply to all industries.

The proposals in the consultation, which runs until 14 October, only apply to the HSE and not to equivalent work undertaken by Local Authorities. However, this is one of the issues on which the views of consultees are being sought, and the proposals could be amended in the future to enable Local Authorities to recover the costs of their interventions, also.

Gordon MacDonald, the HSE’s programme director, said: “The Government has agreed that it is right that those who break the law should pay their fair share of the costs to put things right – and not the public purse. These proposals provide a further incentive for people to operate within the law, levelling the playing field between those who comply and those who don’t. Compliant firms will not pay a penny in intervention fees.

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