FEES FOR INTERVENTION – HOW IS IT GOING?
When the Fees for Intervention legislation took hold in October last year, it was said by the HSE that it expected to bring in £37 million per year through billing employers who in the judgment of it’s enforcement offices were in ‘material breach’ of health and safety law.
So How is it Going?
Well, as reported in Health & Safety at Work, in the first 2 months of the new cost recovery scheme commencing a total of £727,000 had been invoiced by HSE. The average being just short of £490.00. At that rate the annual figure would fall short of £4.4m. It’s early days though and we would expect that ‘hit rate’ to increase as time passes.
The HSE report they have no set targets for this and that the £37m figure was a very early estimate.
Of the 903 premises visited and that received invoices, more that a third were in the construction sector.
If an employer receives an FFI invoice they have 21 days from receipt to query it. This could be on the grounds that they dispute they were in material breach or that the amount of time billed by the HSE was incorrect. If the HSE’s response to such queries is not accepted then a dispute can be lodged within 10 days.
What Triggers FFI?
FFI is triggered when, in the opinion of a HSE Inspector there is, or has been, a material breach of health and safety law which requires them to issue a notice in writing. (i.e. a letter or formal improvement or prohibition notice) of that opinion to the duty holder. From that moment every minute of time spent on that matter by HSE becomes chargeable of £124.00 per hour. If a third party specialist or expert is engaged by the HSE then their fees in full will also be billed to the business.
Naturally, we urge all employers to make sure they adopt a positive management approach to responsibilities. As we have said previously – a good start is to:
Have a suitable H&S Policy that is regularly reviewed and updated.
Risk Assessments which are documented for your significant risks and the outcomes communicated to employees.
Make sure your employees are competent and have received adequate training – accredited where appropriate.
Make sure your managers and supervisors have H&S related objectives and carry out regular H&S inspections and briefings in their work area. And of course make sure that any remedial actions are planned-in and completed.
And don’t forget – records, records, records. The old adage “if you have not recorded it – it has not been done” applies.