HSE’s £124 per hour cost recovery scheme to start in October

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has confirmed that its cost recovery scheme, Fee for Intervention (FFI), will start on 1 October 2012 subject to Parliamentary approval. The scheme was due to start in April but it is not clear why the date was moved to October and been delayed.

At the moment a HSE [Health and Safety Executive] inspector will visit a premise and if they identify a breach they will suggest improvements. Currently, there are no charges associated with such visits.

However, from October the HSE will charge £124 for each hour of work where they identify a ‘material breach’.
A material breach is when, in the opinion of the HSE inspector, there is or has been a contravention of health and safety law that requires them to issue notice in writing of that opinion to the dutyholder.

New, detailed guidance has been published on HSE’s website setting out how the scheme will work in practice. Developed in consultation with representatives from industry, it explains how FFI works and includes examples illustrating how it would be applied.

In a statement on its website, the HSE said: “FFI recovers costs from those who break health and safety laws for the time and effort HSE spends helping to put matters right such as, investigating and taking enforcement action.
“Law-abiding businesses will be free from costs and will not pay a fee.”

Start in October
Gordon MacDonald, HSE’s programme director, explained: “Confirming the date for the start of Fee For Intervention and publishing the guidance will give dutyholders clarity and certainty about the start of the scheme and what they can expect.

“We have worked with industry representatives in shaping the final form of the scheme and the published guidance explains how the scheme will work and what businesses can do to comply with the law and avoid incurring a fee.

“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. Firms who manage workplace risks properly will not pay.”

The HSE Board recommended the introduction of FFI to ministers in December 2011. HSE has completed a successful test run of the scheme in preparation for its start in October.

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