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June 29, 2012

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October start for HSE cost-recovery confirmed

The HSE’s cost-recovery scheme, known as Fee for Intervention (FFI), will begin on 1 October, subject to Parliamentary approval, the regulator has announced.

As well as confirming the start date for the scheme, the HSE has also published initial guidance explaining how the scheme will work in practice, along with examples illustrating how it will be applied.

The scheme was originally expected to come into force in April but was postponed following the HSE’s decision to take more time to discuss certain “technical details” and carry out a test run.

Announcing the date of the scheme’s launch today (29 June), HSE programme director Gordon MacDonald stressed that law-abiding businesses will not pay a penny and that the Executive will only recover costs from duty-holders that are found to be in material breach of health and safety law.

“We have worked with industry representatives in shaping the final form of the scheme, and the published guidance explains how the scheme will work and what businesses can do to comply with the law and avoid incurring a fee,” he explained.€

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Alexhoward_121
Alexhoward_121
12 years ago

This really needs looking at again!
I’m all for the costs being recoverd by the HSE in principal. However, shouldn’t we only expect costs to be recovered from guilty verdicts. This would be a far better way than this heavy handed approach which could see companies potentially pleading guilty to a charge they are innocent of because it’s cheaper than defending it? Small businesses in particular could/would be thesufferers under this system! Cam-morons numpties have got H&S wrong – yet again!!

Bob
Bob
12 years ago

A fee is payable for handling disputes?

So if you win a dispute, do you still pay this fee for being correct in disputing the fee?

If so that`s worse than the banking sector, and we know they are bandits.

Bob
Bob
12 years ago

As a former IOC, I can forsee huge problems in the enforcement of FFI.

Many times I issued more than 1 notice, but also gave out free advice on various subjects, and then followed up this advice to see if it was adopted?

Now I would have to hand out penalties for all of the breaches noted, and charge for the checking up of compliance in addition to the initial notice breach?

I estimate that I would have made a minimum of 100k / yr based upon notices alone,
with minor effort.

Bob
Bob
12 years ago

The last HSE Construction Blitz ended in 870 notices being issued. (Easily achieved)

If the average inspection, letter writing and follow up equates to?

let`s say 4 hrs? could be more?

That is 4 x 124 x 870 = £424,560.00 + VAT (Many SME`s are not VAT registered – sole traders), ooouchh.

And that figure does not include for any additional breaches that were passed over by giving free advice/guidance.

And no fee is anticipated for specialist intervention?

Bonus time me thinks?

Grant
Grant
12 years ago

Blah

Jtheobald
Jtheobald
12 years ago

This begs the question whether this ability to charge for enforcement costs should also eventually extend to Local Authority Environmental Health Officers, who actually enforce within more premises than the HSE, albeit normally lower risk, but often dealing with some employers who are totally ignorant of Health & Safety law!?

Mschilling
Mschilling
12 years ago

Being cynical, am I wrong in predicting that the HSE could possibly be foreseen as targetting certain incidents to follow up on, seeking out employers who might be more likely have the means to pay the FFI costs, rather than smaller, less affluent employers who would not be able to cover the hourly fees without impacting their business viability?
This could become a licence to print money for the HSE, especially as the dispute process also incurs the same hourly rate. Its a big stick situation.

Mschilling
Mschilling
12 years ago

Confidence and competence in the experts….mm
But that does not stop an Inspector arriving at ones premises on a mission to make a few bob for their employer does it? They could pick a little hole in anything and use it to generate some much needed funding.
I can see it now: Job cuts announced at HSE due to insufficient funding = increase in FFI cases in an attempt to improve the cash flow. They could easily make £500 out of 2 emails re: a sign that blew down in the wind the day before…..

Patrick
Patrick
12 years ago

There is no intention for FFI to extend to local authority regulators, the majority of whom are agin it. FFI is the creature of the government, rather than HSE (who’ve just got to deploy it) and was proposed in the DWP paper “Good Health and Safety, Good for Everyone”, which was published in March 2011. The paper said nothing about cost recovery for councils and there’s nothing in the wind (yet) to suggest that anyone’s considering it.

Richard
Richard
12 years ago

This doesn’t sit right with me. the system as it is penalises the duty holders if flouting H&S law and rightly so.

There should be a stick i agree to this but at least when you see a stick you know how big it is and how much it will hurt.
With this system there is no telling and it is open to abuse.

Rob
Rob
12 years ago

The more I read about this the more worried I become. The aricle above says the fee includes work needed to identify the breach – what work is that? The inspector has arrived on site and has immediately seen a breach, what work has gone into that? Now he will fine you for writing out the IN or PN but there is no end in sight and a huge bill if you choose to argue the fine.
It hasn’t been mentioned yet but where is money to be made ‘targets’ must follow, which means inspectors must find fault.

Saxon2Girl
Saxon2Girl
12 years ago

This is an appalling license to print money and akin to the police to charging for making arrests. £124 per hour charges start when the HSE walks on to site and time to write a letter etc. Expect a minimum of £500-a shocker for hard pressed small business- and If the bill is contested additional charges are incurred at this rate for dealing with the query! The system is wide open to corruption and intimidation- get an inspector on a bad day/ clash of personalities or needing to meet targets.

Shelley
Shelley
12 years ago

The announcement by the HSE that its cost recovery scheme, FFI will start in October 2012 means that it is imperative for businesses to now start to take a more proactive approach to their health and safety requirements.
Good health and safety is not about box ticking, or simply complying with the law. With the right proactive approach and confidence in the relevance of expert health and safety advice organisations can begin to exploit the new era of clearer and more concise regulation .