Health and Safety Executive Charges – What Could it Cost Your Company?

It comes as a surprise to many organisations that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – the government inspectorate – can charge for some of their inspections. They are able to charge under a scheme called Fee for Intervention (FFI) when they discover what they term to be a material breach of Health and Safety legislation.

60% of HSE inspections now result in bills being sent to the inspected company. They charge their fees at £124 per hour, for the entirety of the inspection and the entirety of the follow up action. A medium sized organization might be visited by an inspector over two to three days. On the last day, they find what they determine to be a material breach. They can then charge for the whole of their time spent with the company over for the two to three day period, as well as the follow up action. This can include re-inspections, letters, reinforcement notices and so on, which can quickly run up bills of thousands or tens of thousands of pounds.

In many cases inspectors will identify issues which an organization may feel are relatively trivial. It might be a procedural issue; it might be in relation to not having carried out an adequate risk assessment; it might relate to inadequate training arrangements. However, if it is sufficient for the inspector, in their opinion, to class it as a material breach of the law, then the inspector can issue bills accordingly.

It is particularly important that the inspector is dealt with at the right level within the organization on all inspections. Someone senior should meet with them, who can answer their questions. If the inspector is left with a junior member of staff, who does not know the answers, it is more likely that the inspection will take longer. It is also more likely that breaches of health and safety will be found, because the answers aren’t given immediately and follow up action is needed.

It is essential that your organisation has the right health and safety procedures in place and that you are well organized in terms of dealing with inspections, should they arise. If you’re concerned about how to deal with inspections or how to improve Health and Safety in your organisation, please call us on 0118 929 9920 or click here to contact us.

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