This month we thought it would be a good idea to remind businesses about possible unexpected costs when an HSE inspector rings your doorbell.
What is fee for intervention (FFI)? An inspector visiting your business, “bumps” into a contravention of law, you will have to pay for it. The invoice is based on the time the inspector spent identifying the contravention, report compilation, other investigations and possibility of taking enforcement action.
Why is FFI being introduced? HSE and the government believe it is right that businesses that break health and safety laws should pay instead of the public purse. FFI will also encourage businesses to comply in the first place.
Will FFI apply to me? If you’re compliant? No. FFI only applies to businesses inspected by HSE. Exceptions are the self-employed people who don’t put people at risk by their work; those who are already paying fees to HSE for the work through other arrangements (e.g. Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations 2004) and those who deliberately work with certain biological agents.
What is a material breach? Where the HSE inspector judges a contravention/s is/are serious enough to notify you in writing or perhaps issue an improvement or prohibition notice or raise a prosecution. Before deciding the inspector must consider the guidelines of the Enforcement Management Model to ensure is proportionate to the circumstances. e.g. no guards or safety devices, asbestos in a damaged condition (there is quite a list!)
How much might it cost me? Time spent, carrying out visits, writing notices, and reports, taking statements and getting specialist support for complex issues, multiplied by the FFI hourly rate currently £124 per hour. HSE send invoices every two months and you will have 30 days to pay.
How do I raise a query or dispute about the invoice? If you disagree query the invoice within 21 days of invoice date. Contact the FFI Team Health and Safety Executive Building 6 Redgrave Court Bootle L20 7HS, Telephone: 0300 0033 190 and /or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you disagree with the reply, you can dispute, giving in writing why you disagree and send again within 21 days. A panel of HSE staff and independent representatives will consider and write back to you with the outcome. If your dispute is not upheld you will have to pay for HSE’s time spent on the dispute at the same hourly rate as above. If your dispute is upheld, HSE will refund and credit any outstanding invoices.