The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have recently announced that they have increased the fee they charge to investigate and advise on health and safety matters. James and Sarah consider the implications of this.
Fee For Intervention (FFI) was established by the HSE to recover some of the costs incurred by them in identifying breaches by persons or organisations (‘dutyholders’) and assisting in putting them right.
Previously, the FFI hourly rate was £129 which has now been increased to £154, a 19% increase. The increase came into force from 6 April 2019.
Under this scheme, the HSE will recover costs from non-compliant dutyholders when a breach has been identified and needs to be rectified.
The scheme previously saw a slight increase in 2016 from £124 per hour to £129, however, we now see a much higher increase as a result of, according to the HSE, inflation and recovering its costs in completing this regulatory function. The reality is the HSE are now seeing the revenue from FFI as a means to bolster its reduced budget.
It’s worth reviewing ‘when an inspector calls’, a leaflet that can be found on the HSE website, http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/hsc14.pdf, to ensure everything is in order to prevent the service of a FFI notice. Otherwise it can be an expensive visit!
Whilst to charge you a FFI a material breach has to be discovered, the reality is an inspector can, and often does, find some issues when inspecting premises or activities. The bill you ultimately can be facing may be very costly, running into the thousands.
There is a challenge/appeal procedure but as is often the case prevention is better than cure!