Health and safety
Consultant / trainer
Produced by Alan Bunting © Training and Safety Services
Alan Bunting MIIRSM. Dip NEBOSH. Grad IOSH.
Tel: 01603 487238
Fees for Intervention
The Health and Safety Executive can now charge fees under ‘Fees for Intervention’ (FFI), to businesses that fail to comply with the health and safety law.
The HSE has had a 30% reduction in its budget, call me cynical but could FFI be used as the the device to claw back what it has lost in its budget?
FFI will not (for the time being) apply to organisation where the local authority regulate health and safety laws e.g. offices, shops and warehouses.
FFI charges will apply where the HSE undertake formal advice to businesses when they identify a material breach. Charges will be raised at a rate of £124 per hour and will be applied from the beginning of the visit or the time the material breach was identified. The clock will continue to run until the investigation closes or the costs become recoverable through a prosecution.
FFI aims to move the burden away from the taxpayer and focus costs on those organisations that fail to comply with the law. In some cases, that burden could be considerable.
Difficulties in being 100% compliant
No company has perfect control of health and safety issues but inspectors should consider the efforts you make in managing health and safety before deciding a course of action but it will be the material breach that will determine their course of action.
The HSE has defined a material breach as any breach of health and safety legislation. A simple trip hazard would fit this description but would they invoke FFI?
The key elements in the decision to take formal action will depend on the HSE’s Enforcement Management Model (EMM).
I have summarised below the process HSE inspectors will go through and what you need to do to avoid FFI.
Determining if there is a material breach to invoke FFI
In the opinion of the inspector, there will have been a breach of health and safety legislation such that the inspector needs to inform the duty holder of their opinion in writing.
It is important to understand that any material breach is subjective. Proportionality is a key element and inspectors will form their opinion based on the scale of the health and safety risk and the seriousness of the breach of law.
The scale of the risk
Inspectors will consider the degree of harm that could arise, the likelihood of that harm occurring and the number of persons likely to be affected. This approach mirrors your risk assessment. If your risk assessment and controls are effective the scale of risk should be minimised and therefore formal action by the enforcing authorities would be unlikely.