Health and Safety Executive FFI Update
Mar 2, 2017
Fee for intervention (FFI) is the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) cost recovery scheme which was introduced on 1st October 2012. FFI was introduced because the HSE believes that any business breaking health and safety laws should be financially responsible for the HSE's time in putting matters right.
They now charge an hourly rate of £129 for their inspectors' time, however if further expert investigation is required this will be charged in addition (with no financial cap relating to these additional costs). The total amount to be recovered will be based on the amount of time it takes HSE to identify and conclude its regulatory action in relation to the material breach (including associated office work) - this includes part hours.
Where businesses are not compliant with health and safety laws, the HSE may seek to recover its costs for inspection/investigation from them. The average cost of an invoice issued under FFI is now running in excess of £650.
Invoices will generally be sent to businesses every two months, within 30 working days of the end of each invoicing period. Invoices will be issued in January, March, May, July, September and November. The majority of invoices are for sums below £500, though companies can be issued with multiple invoices if the HSE investigation spans more than one invoice period.
In February/March 2016, 35% of invoices were for less than £200. One in three was for between £200 and £500. Ten invoices were issued for sums in excess of £10,000.
If the HSE inspect the workplace or is notified of a material breach of health and safety and the HSE decide the breach is sufficiently serious to inspect or write to you as a notification of contravention, issue an improvement/prohibition notice or a prosecution, it will record the time it has spent identifying the breach, helping you put it right, investigating and taking enforcement action. There is a limited "appeals" process and if unsuccessful, this could increase overall costs significantly.
Having a structured health and safety management plan at the heart of your organisation will help ensure compliance of the business with health and safety laws and minimise the likelihood of fines, penalties, etc for any breaches of health and safety legislation.
A framework for a realistic and proportionate health and safety management in a small/medium sized business should incorporate the following:
- Appoint a person responsible for health and safety. This can be an internal, suitably experienced person or an external professional, such as BBi Risk Solutions.
- Prepare a health and safety policy which meets current legal requirements and best practice, ensuring the policy is regularly reviewed so it adequately reflects the activities of the business.
- Prepare and regularly review risk assessments of all activities that may affect the health and safety of employees and visitors.
- Develop safe working practices where hazardous processes exist.
- Provide and record appropriate health and safety training for staff.
- Establish a system for recording and investigation of accidents and near misses.
- Carry out regular health and safety audits of the workplace, systems, procedures and documentation.