In October 2012, the HSE introduced Fees for Intervention (FFI), a scheme to charge companies who fail to meet their legal obligations and are deemed to be in material breach of health and safety regulations. The intention was to pass the financial burden from taxpayers to businesses or organisations.
Under the scheme, if a visiting HSE inspector identifies a material breach of health and safety regulations, which is serious enough to demand action to be taken, the clock starts ticking and the costs begin to mount.
The fees charged include the costs of:
The inspectors time on site
Time taken to write letters or compile reports
Time to gather information and evidence
As well all other costs relating to any subsequent investigation.
FFI applies to workplaces where the HSE is the enforcing authority in relation to health and safety.
Where the organisation or individual is not breaking the law, no fees will apply.
How much does FFI cost?
In 2012 the hourly rate for FFI was set at £124, increasing slightly in 2016 to £129 per hour.
As of April 2019, the hourly rate increased to £154 per hour, an increase of almost 20% which the HSE state is due to the scheme operating at a significant loss in recent years.
The average cost to organisations or individuals back in 2012 receiving an invoice for FFI (when the hourly rate was £124) was £650.
It is expected that the April 2019 increase to £154 per hour will lead to invoices being issued for over £800.
This is in addition to other legal costs which may be faced by organisations deemed to be in breach of regulations.
What does this mean for your business?
In order to avoid possible breaches in regulations, organisations must consider health and safety aspects through all levels of their business.
Enforcing authorities don’t just visit following an accident or incident, they can visit without warning and at any reasonable time. The inspector can provide advice, issue improvement or prohibition notices, or instigate a prosecution as a result of their visit. It is important to note that improvement and prohibition notices are published on the HSE website.
The costs of FFI are an additional pressure following an incident or accident and can have a significant financial impact, especially on small to medium sized companies.
How can Alcumus help?
Alcumus PSM offers a tailored health and safety solution through a dedicated consultant who gets to know your business and how you operate.
This service includes face to face visits to advise on compliance with current regulations and provide further assistance if required. If you have any questions about FFI, or would like to know how Alcumus PSM can help you manage your health and safety, please contact the Alcumus PSM H&S Consultancy team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alcumus PSM (People & Safety Management) specialises in human resources (HR) and health and safety (H&S) consulting for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Written by Janice Jones, Health & Safety Consultant