HSE proposes to introduce a fee for intervention cost recovery scheme with effect from 1 October 2012, subject to Parliamentary approval of the proposed Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012.
These Regulations will put a duty on HSE to recover its costs for carrying out its regulatory functions from those found to be in material breach of health and safety law.
A material breach is, when in the opinion of the HSE inspector, there has been a contravention of health and safety law that is serious enough to require them to notify the person in material breach of that opinion in writing.
HSE and the government believe it is right that businesses and organisations that break health and safety laws should pay for HSE’s time in putting matters right, investigating and taking enforcement action. Without FFI, this is paid for from the public purse.
The proposed Fee for Intervention hourly rate for 2012/13 is £124.
FFI will also encourage businesses and organisations to comply in the first place or put matters right quickly when they don’t. It will also discourage those who undercut their competitors by not complying with the law and putting people at risk.
LST Comment: This is a huge culture change and will affect those that fail to embrace the legal requirements of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and all its subordinate (secondary) legislation. The HSE are directed to focus on high risk industry eg, construction, and those who continue to fail to protect their workforce. Visits from the HSE that identify a material breach, (in other words where activities do not meet the minimum required standard) will be charged at £124 per hour with effect of 1 October 2012. The HSE Fee for Intervention webpage includes the text above and has links to useful documents that not only assist their enforcing officers, but give real direction to business. Employers should aim to bench mark their activities against these guidance documents and identify their gaps before the HSE do. Lighthouse are here to assist, but we can only do so if you engage and act on the advice we offer.
The tables within the HSE Enforcement Management Model should help focus minds; in particular the flow charts on pages 35 – 38 should assist employers to make informed decisions by understanding their legal position of such a material breach.