HSE Fees Consultation
The Health & Safety Executive is currently consulting on a plan to charge businesses for inspections.
The HSE’s consultation on recovering costs for intervening in a business following a ‘material’ breach closes on 14th October.
The idea, known as Fees for Intervention, is that if the inspector has to take action following an inspection the duty holder at fault will be responsible for meeting the costs. Those duty holders who are not in breach or who are in technical, but non-material breach will not be charged for the inspection. Costs for material breach will be recovered at an hourly rate of £135. It is estimated that when an inspection results in a letter, the cost could be in the region of £750 and range to £1500 when a Notice is served.
This begs the question of what a ‘material’ breach is and as yet there does not appear to be a fixed definition, but loose guidance suggests it is something that an inspector could not walk away from. Of course, that in itself is subjective and is one of the main criticisms of FFI. The HSE has stated that there will not be financial targets set for recovery of its costs and that FFI is not a fine, but only the repayment of costs incurred in taking action. It is anticipated that there will need to be a process for challenging and appealing costs incurred, but that has not yet been clearly set out.
The HSE has indicated that this scheme will be piloted in October 2011 and come into force in 2012 and has the support of the Government.
For further information on health and safety law please contact James Johnston on 01228 552222.
About the author
James is a Partner and Head of the firm’s Dispute Resolution team.
Published: Monday 3rd October 2011
Categorised: Health & Safety