Legislative changes mean that the HSE will be forced to impose a new ‘Fee for Intervention’ that will see businesses invoiced for the inspectors time where there has been a ‘Material Breach’ of health and safety law.
Where an HSE Inspector is of the opinion there is a material breach requiring the HSE to make a formal intervention, the HSE will recover all the costs of that intervention. The proposed Fee for Intervention hourly rate for 2012/13 is £124
A ‘Formal Intervention’ is when a written requirement is formally made ~ e.g. enforcement notices, e-mails or letters advising the business on how to deal with the material breach. If an inspection or investigation determines that there has been no breach there will be no fee. Neither will those who may ‘technically’ breach the law in some way. A technical breach is where, in the opinion of the Inspector, the breach does not require the HSE to make a formal intervention.
There are a number of exclusions from the proposed charges which include:
- Inspections and incident investigations by Local Authorities (EHO’s)
- The self-employed (unless they expose others to risks)
- breaches by employees
The charging period clock starts running at the point the material breach was identified and will run up to and including the point when that breach has been concluded. The elements of the new charging structure will include all related follow-up such as site visits, meetings, phone calls, specialist expertise assistance, time to write letters and reports, drafting and issue of enforcement notices.
It is proposed to charge a flat hourly averaged fee for all HSE staff ~ currently at £124 per hour. The hourly charge will not include the Health and Safety Laboratory services (HSL) but these will be charged at actual cost.
Expected average recovery costs are as follows:
- Inspection, no action ~ no charge
- Inspection with letter ~ approx. charge £750
- Inspection with Enforcement Notice ~ approx. charge £1,500
- Investigations ~ approx. start at £750 to possible tens of thousands of pounds
Actual costs will depend upon particular circumstances and complexity to follow reasonable lines of investigation etc.
For more information go to the HSE webpage http://www.hse.gov.uk/fee-for-intervention/index.htm