The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has confirmed that its cost recovery scheme, Fee for Intervention (FFI), will start on October 1, 2012.
FFI aims to recover costs from companies 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.
Chris Hall, managing partner of health and safety consultancy Lighthouse Risk Services, said: “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:
• Identifies a contravention of health and safety law
• Is of the opinion that the contravention is serious enough to require written notification (i.e. it is a material breach)
• Notifies the person contravening the law of their opinion, in writing, by a notification of contravention, Improvement or Prohibition Notice, or prosecution
The HSE guidance 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, companies will have no way of knowing what the final bill will come to until the very end of the case.
"There appears to be no room for discussion or negotiations until this stage, as the first time that a business can raise an objection is when they receive the invoice for the investigation," said Hall.
"What is clear is that businesses who want to protect their position and minimise charges should speak to a health and safety consultant today as the prevention is 500% cheaper than the cure."
The final version of ‘Guidance on the application of Fee for Intervention’ will be published prior to the start date of the scheme but to download the initial report, click here