Businesses potential liability to HSE Fees for Intervention now clearer

Date Added 26.03.13

Businesses can now assess the risk of having to pay Health & Safety Executive (HSE) fees if it intervenes in relation to their operations. The HSE has published the first two months’ figures for its ‘Fee for Intervention‘ scheme, introduced on 1 October 2012.

Under the scheme, which aims to shift the costs of HSE interventions from the taxpayer to the offender, businesses must pay for HSE inspections or investigations that uncover a ‘material breach’ of health and safety law. The fee is triggered if there is a formal ‘written intervention’ – such as an enforcement letter, email or notice from the HSE – about an alleged breach of health and safety law. It does not apply to businesses subject to local authority supervision, rather than the HSE.

The figures for 1 October 2012 to 30 November 2012 show the HSE scheme issued 1,491 receipts at more than 900 premises, totalling £727k. Estimates are that the scheme will bring in around £4.3m – much lower than the £37m projected for the first year. A significant number were in the construction sector.

Original estimates were that the usual costs of an intervention would range from £750 to £1,500. In fact, 70 per cent were under £500 and only 10 per cent over £1,000.

Recommendation

Businesses to which the scheme applies should consider carrying out a health and safety review, to reduce the risk of a ‘written intervention’ by the HSE.

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