In 2012, the HSE introduced Fees for Intervention (FFI), a scheme to charge companies who fail to meet their legal obligations and are deemed to be in material breach of health and safety regulations. The intention was to pass the financial burden from taxpayers to businesses or organisations.
Under the scheme, if a visiting HSE inspector identifies a material breach of health and safety regulations, which is serious enough to demand action to be taken, the clock starts ticking and the costs begin to mount.
The fees charged include the costs of:
The inspectors time on site
Time taken to write letters or compile reports
Time to gather information and evidence
As well all other costs relating to any subsequent investigation.
FFI applies to workplaces where the HSE is the enforcing authority in relation to health and safety.
Where the organisation or individual is not breaking the law, no fees will apply.
Who FFI applies to
It applies to duty holders where HSE is the enforcing authority. This will include:
self-employed who put others at risk
public and limited companies
general, limited and limited liability partnerships
Crown and public bodies
What the law says
The fee is payable to HSE if:
a person is contravening or has contravened health and safety laws; and
an inspector is of the opinion that the person is or has done so, and notifies the person in writing of that opinion.
What is a material breach?
A material breach is something which an inspector considers serious enough that they need to formally write to the business requiring action to be taken to deal with the material breach. If the inspector gives you a notification of contravention (NoC) after their visit, you’ll have to pay a fee.
The NoC must include:
the law that the inspector considers has been broken
the reason(s) for their opinion
notification that a fee is payable to HSE
Where an inspector simply gives you advice, either verbal or written, you won’t have to pay anything for this advice.
How much does FFI cost?
It currently costs £154 an hour. The fee will include the costs covering the time of the entire original visit. The total amount recovered will be based on the amount of time it takes HSE to identify the breach and help you put things right (including associated office work), multiplied by the hourly rate.
Your fee may include the inspector’s time:
at your business or workplace
getting specialist advice
talking to you after the visit
talking to your workers
The fee can vary depending on:
how long the original visit was
the time the inspector spent helping you put things right
the time it took the inspector to investigate your case
any time we spend on taking action against you
The average cost to organisations or individuals back in 2012 receiving an invoice for FFI (when the hourly rate was £124) was £650.
It is expected that the April 2019 increase to £154 per hour will lead to invoices being issued for over £800.
This is in addition to other legal costs which may be faced by organisations deemed to be in breach of regulations.
What does this mean for your business?
In order to avoid possible breaches in regulations, organisations must consider health and safety aspects through all levels of their business.
Enforcing authorities don’t just visit following an accident or incident, they can visit without warning and at any reasonable time. The inspector can provide advice, issue improvement or prohibition notices, or instigate a prosecution as a result of their visit. It is important to note that improvement and prohibition notices are published on the HSE website.
The costs of FFI are an additional pressure following an incident or accident and can have a significant financial impact, especially on small to medium sized companies.
How can LCS help?
LCS offers a tailored health and safety solution through a dedicated consultant who gets to know your business and how you operate.
Our services includes face to face visits to advise on compliance with current regulations and provide further assistance if required. If you have any questions about FFI, or would like to know how LCS can help you manage your health and safety, please contact the LCS team firstname.lastname@example.org