Health & Safety Executive’s Fee for Intervention scheme comes into effect
From 1 October 2012, the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Fee for Intervention (FFI) scheme comes into force in the UK. The result of the scheme is that businesses will be liable to pay the costs of the HSE’s formal enforcement charges if they are in breach of health and safety laws. The basis of FFI is founded upon the principle that those who do not comply with the law should pay for the work that the regulator must carry out as a result of that non-compliance.
FFI was introduced earlier this year via the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012, but was postponed in enforcement until 1 October to enable the HSE to publish guidance on the matter. The guidance was published in June and is available for download from the HSE website.
FFI provides that businesses in contravention of health and safety laws will be charged at a rate of £124 an hour where the HSE has to make a formal intervention to rectify a material breach. A ‘material’ breach arises where an HSE inspector is of the opinion that there has been a contravention of health and safety law that requires a written notice to be issued to the dutyholder. Charges will apply for HSE intervention from the point of time that this material breach is identified up until the point of rectification.
The charges will apply to all HSE-regulated sectors with the exception of a number of hazardous industries that already have charging schemes in place. Those include offshore oil and gas production facilities, sites regulated under the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 (COMAH) and sites licensed under the Nuclear Installations Act 1965.
A review of the FFI scheme will be undertaken by the HSE after the first twelve months of operation, and within three years of the regime coming into effect. The level of the charging rate will also be reviewed annually.