Latest figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that Fee For Intervention (FFI) charges have reached record levels.
FFI is a ‘cost recovery scheme’ operated by the (HSE). Workplaces in ‘material breach’ of health and safety laws are liable for recovery of the HSE’s costs for any inspection, investigation and enforcement action that is undertaken.
Between April and May 2015, the regulator sent out 2,922 invoices for a total of £2.01 million at an average of £715 each. In the previous two months, a record total of £2.24 million fees were invoiced. The average invoice represents a 40% increase since the scheme was introduced in October 2012 and because invoices are issued regardless of whether the matter has been concluded or not, the actual cost of written notification could be considerably higher.
The HSE is most active in three particular sectors including manufacturing and construction who received the highest aggregate bills of £750k and £590k respectively and the service industry accounting for £560k. Whether these sectors are being targeted because of their high-risk profile or difficulties in managing high risks is unclear. What is clear is that the HSE are discovering ‘material breaches’ which set the clock running on fees for intervention.
The figures send out a clear message to all businesses regulated by the HSE that if you break health and safety laws there is a strong chance you will be financially penalised.
Remember that if you are an Ellis Whittam Health & Safety client and have our Legal Expenses Insurance, in the event that you are billed for FFI by the HSE, your insurance will cover those costs.
You can read more about the FFI scheme in our FAQ here.