HSE to charge for enforcement costs

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has confirmed that the “Fee for Intervention” (FfI) scheme will come into force on 6 April 2012. Under the scheme, employers who contravene health and safety law will be forced to pay the HSE’s formal enforcement costs at a rate of £124 an hour.

The FfI scheme will be introduced by the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012, which are awaiting formal approval by Parliament and will be subject to annual review. Costs will be recovered where the HSE has to make a formal written intervention to address an alleged contravention of health and safety law, such as the issue of an enforcement letter or enforcement notice.

It is understood that the FfI will not apply in relation to verbal advice and the HSE’s existing power to recover prosecution costs following successful conviction (in England & Wales only) is unaffected.

The scheme will apply in nearly all sectors enforced by the HSE other than those where a charging scheme already exists, such as offshore energy and certain other hazardous industries. The scheme will not be applied to activities regulated by local authority inspectors for health and safety (e.g. shops and office-based businesses).

It remains to be seen exactly how the charging regime will work in practice and whether the inconsistency of the HSE charging for intervention where local authorities cannot will prove problematic. Can it be too long before other Regulators, such as the Environment Agency, will be given similar charging powers…

Once the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012 are published, I will include the weblink.

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