Furious contractors are bracing themselves for bills of £124 an hour from safety inspectors.
The fees come into force from April when HSE inspectors will charge contractors for their time if safety breaches are discovered on site.
The hourly charges have stunned construction companies who have seen their own pay rates squeezed during the downturn.
One contractor told the Enquirer: “What world are these people living in?
“At a time when most contractors and subbies are having to argue over charge out rates of £20 – £45 an hour, here comes your local expert at box ticking charging three or four times that.
“I’m sure the next step to this initiative will be the imposition on local HSE offices to meet quotas for these fees.”
HSE inspectors will bill contractors when a site visit results in an improvement or prohibition notice or a letter requiring safety improvements.
An HSE spokesman said: “Companies will not be invoiced for trivial matters and compliant businesses will not pay a penny.
“It is important to remember that the only way businesses will incur a cost is if they are in breach of health and safety law.
“If they comply with the law, they incur no cost. If they rectify breaches quickly, their costs will be lower.
“The hourly rate of £124 reflects the costs HSE incurs.”
Source – Construction Enquirer
LST Comment: Whilst agreeing that this move is a bitter pill to swallow, and even seems like another stealth tax, we believe the overall aim is to encourage contractors to be more pragmatic and proactive in the management of their sites, work activities and untimely the health and safety of their staff. The alternative to incidents and injuries and these potential ground busting charges would to engage with LST to ensure that your staff training, your site management policies and procedures and your site activities are developed correctly, our charges are certainly less that what the HSE propose.