02380 558200 info@aeins.co.uk

From 1st October 2012, the Health & Safety Executive will have the power to conduct unannounced inspections of all HSE regulated businesses, issuing charges for any “material breaches” of regulations that leads to a further investigation. These are called Fee For Intervention charges, and could mount up – costing £124 per hour of the inspectors time.

Due to a 20% reduction in funding due to government cuts, the HSE have introduced the FFI scheme allowing them to recover costs by charging an hourly rate when action against a company is needed, rather than passing those costs onto the tax payer. Examples of such actions are:

  • A notification of a contravention
  • An improvement or prohibition notice
  • A notice of prosecution

There are also set costs for specific contraventions, all of which may lead to costly charges in the high hundreds of pounds. In addition to this, when further investigation is required, the inspector may call for a colleague’s expertise or the use of the HSE laboratory, introducing further charges. The average health & safety visit finds 24 contraventions, so these charges provide a significant risk to businesses that may not be fully aware of their exposures.

This fee is hoped to act as an incentive for businesses to ensure their health & safety policies are up to date and any problems are rectified quickly and efficiently. It should also encourage better training for new employees and the idea that all staff should be aware of regulations and procedures. In addition to this, it is expected to level the playing field between businesses, meaning companies that previously undercut large businesses by cutting corners on their health and safety procedures will now need to invest in this area.

FFI applies to all businesses inspected by the HSE, including charities and public bodies. In order to avoid any FFI charges, business owners should make sure risk assessments are carried out and up to date, and that they are fully aware of their health and safety responsibilities.