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10th July 2012

HSE’s ‘Fee for Fault’ Scheme due to Start in October 2012

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently confirmed that its cost recovery scheme, Fee for Intervention (FFI), will start on 1 October 2012, meaning that business owners need to start taking a more pro-active approach now!

The scheme was originally expected to come in during April 2012 but this was postponed following the HSE’s decision to take more time to discuss certain “technical details” and carry out a test run.

FFI aims to recover costs from those who break health and safety laws for the time and effort HSE spends helping to put matters right such as, investigating, writing reports and taking enforcement action.

As well as confirming the start date for the scheme, the HSE has also published initial guidance explaining how the scheme will work in practice, along with examples illustrating how it will be applied. FFI will apply whenever an inspector:

  • is of the opinion that the contravention is serious enough to require written notification (i.e. it is a material breach); and
  • notifies the person contravening the law of their opinion, in writing, by a notification of contravention, Improvement or Prohibition Notice, or prosecution.

The new guidance also confirms that the hourly fee payable by employers found to be in material breach of the law is £124 per hour!! Apart from knowing the hourly rate, businesses will have no way of knowing what the final bill will come to until the very end of the case. What’s more, there appears to be no room for discussion or negotiations until this stage either, as the first time that a business can raise an objection is when they receive the invoice for the investigation.

The initial ‘Guidance on the application of Fee for Intervention’ is available at www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/hse47.htm but a final version will be published prior to the start date of the scheme.

What is clear is that businesses who want to protect their position and minimise charges should remedy any breach identified by an inspector at the earliest opportunity and notify them of the same in a bid to minimise any work an inspector might have to do.

If you have any concerns regarding your current arrangements for health and safety then do not hesitate to contact Lighthouse today on 0845 4591724.

+Chris Hall

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