Recently, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) imposed a fee of £124 per hour to be paid by firms who have breached laws regarding health and safety issues in their workplaces that may lead to a personal injury. This includes the inspection that has revealed the potential danger.
It is named the “Fee for Intervention” (FFI) scheme, and applies when a “material breach” has been undertaken which requires the necessity for a written notice to be issued which highlights the contravention and a notice indicating that prosecution will take place.
If an inspector simply offers a verbal caution, or a written one that does not indicate any contravention, then the fee will not apply.
The amount firms are charged depends on the number of hours the HSE takes to draw a conclusion and instigate action on the contravention.
FFI will be implemented when there is clear evidence of a health risk, or where employees have been exposed to harmful contaminants such as chemicals, fumes, dust, vibration or noise. Also, if there are any hazards that could lead to serious injuries such as the proximity of a person to a moving piece of machinery or vehicles and obvious risks associated with protecting employees who are working at a height.
There are also certain basic human rights, such as access to potable drinking water and washing and lavatory facilities, that are overseen by the HSE and lack of provision of these services will also mean an FFI be implemented when an inspection and report have been completed.
The costs of FFI start from the time the HSE officer enters the premises to the time that the person leaves, as well as time taken up writing a report, preparing compliance notices, follow up inspections, obtaining specialist help when undergoing inspections, assessing, recording and concluding any findings.
There is no specified length of time designated to the completion of inspection tasks as every case has its own sets of complexities which may take shorter or longer periods of time to assess and finalise.
In the event that the HSE fails in a prosecution bid, then any money already paid by the alleged offender will be repaid without question.