The Health & Safety Executives ‘Fee For Intervention’ has started.

As of the 1st of October the Health & Safety Executive will be able to charge an hourly rate of £124 if you are found to be in ‘material breach’ of the health and safety law under the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012. The HSE state that the fee is based on the amount of time that the inspector has had to spend identifying the breach, helping you to put it right, investigating and then taking any enforcement action.

The hourly rate is applicable to;

 carrying out visits to your premises or site;

 writing out notifications of contravention, improvement or prohibition notices and reports;

 taking any statements; and

 getting specialist support for complex issues

At the rate of £124 per hour the cost could easily add up to several hundred pounds in quite a short space of time. As a result it is even more important now to ensure that you are on top of your health and safety responsibilities.

The HSE will only charge if they identify a ‘material breach’ but what is a material breach? In the HSE document ‘Fee for intervention, what you need to know.’ a material breach is where you are found to have broken a health and safety law and the inspector judges this to be serious enough for them to notify you in writing. The example they give is if you are issued with a notification of contravention (similar to a letter), an improvement or prohibition notice or a prosecution and the inspector must make it clear what law you have broken that you will be charged for. In practice the HSE have hinted that this will be for physical issues that they find rather than technical contraventions and have identified four distinct areas;

 Health risks.

 Safety risks.

 Welfare breaches.

 Management of health & safety risks.

The practical examples they have provided are;

 missing guards on machinery or tools;

 health risks such as asbestos in a poor condition or fibre release;

 poor working at height equipment or access; and

 drums of solvent stored in a workshop without lids.

The HSE have also released a guidance document HSG 47 Guidance on FFI which contains further examples. If you have any questions on FFI and how it may affect you please don’t hesitate to contact us.